Reflections on New York

New York and I have an interesting relationship.  I guess anyone could say that for their hometown—that they have a unique bond—but when you grow up in a city as well-known as New York your personal relationship with the place feels more complicated.  Partly because you can never know the place completely.  I always feel a bit like a sham of a New Yorker when people ask me questions for which I don’t have the answer.

After going away to university, I appreciate my upbringing big city  in a new light.  Not to mention, that city being New York.  I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of having an interesting life story, partly because I regard my own journey as being hum-drum.  Yet, I’m coming to realize that the mundane aspects of my life come from living inside of them.  To others, my life is amazing.

And it is.  I’m really not complaining.

But New York isn’t the glittery tourist place filled with glamour that people seem to think it is.  Or if there is that bit, it’s certainly not my a part of my world.

I went to high school on the upper west side.  I woke up every morning at 6:30 for four years.  Those mornings, the subway, walking around Columbus Circle, it was all normal.  There was nothing incredible about it.  Even now, when I go back, a wave of nostalgia rushes over me.  It’s comfortable, it’s not your New York, his New York or their New York.  This city is mine, all mine.

I like it that way.  The reason I feel so strongly about New York isn’t because it’s a great city, but rather because it has grown to be my city.  When I walk around Soho, I see memories instead of stores.  Alice’s Tea Cup isn’t a must-see, but rather a place where I meet up with friends.  Chelsea Piers isn’t a great place for sporties, but where I spent weekends ice-skating when I was younger.  New York is my city.

When I go back, when I talk about it, I’m not talking about your city.  I’m talking about mine.  The way I see New York has more to do with me than to do with the city itself.  We’ve grown together.  We’ve bonded.  New York is a part of me and I’d like to pretend that at least a little part of myself is in New York.

How do you feel about your hometown?  Love it, hate it, more complicated than that?

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