Why I Love New York City

I was fortunate enough to connect with the mastermind behind the Instagram account @WhyILoveNewYorkCity, which is pretty much a love letter to the place we call home. He asked if I wanted to share my story, and as flattered as I was, I also found the task at hand to be quite daunting. For as expansive as the subject matter is, it is also, at its core, deeply and profoundly personal. So one day I sat down in from of my computer and just started writing, steam of conscious-style, and this is what came out…

Folks think of New York and they think of greatness. The Statue of Liberty. The Empire State Building. The New York bagel. They think that people come here to do big things and dream big dreams. To change the world, change their world, their reality. But I think that what often gets overlooked is people’s small dreams. My grandmother grew up in Manhattan, the daughter of a widowed, single mother during the Great Depression. I so often think back to her stories about her family’s experience here, and I realize that this city had such a great hand in shaping her childhood and her frame of reference in really small and beautiful ways. She used to tell us stories of how, as a small child of 7 or 8, she would take the crosstown bus from her home on the upper west side to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art, all by herself. Even as a young child, the city reinforced a sense of independence and self-sufficiency in her, underneath her endlessly kind and serene exterior.

Having lived here for seven years now, I have come to realize that the city has a way of giving tough love, a way of pushing you to confront challenges while also providing a quiet strength and support system as you move forward in life. This city reinforces that there is beauty in small dreams and small things, and also strength there too. Even something that seems so small, like a young girl striking out on her own to have a tiny adventure in the midst of this vast and limitless city can be a thing of importance. And in that respect, the way that I view this city and the way that I remember my grandmother are intertwined, and I think that’s pretty special.

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