- Posted May 3, 2012 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
City smackdown: I heart New York
Outside, The City Never Sleeps
There was nothing like it, and to describe Manhattan from the eyes of youth must be akin to a pilot flying through the Aurora Borealis.
I hadn't planned on staying in New York. I wanted to travel, and New York was a first stop. But that pull flummoxed me. I was hardly prepared for what New York does to a willing heart: it pulls it in, dares it to be brave, and then sets it free on an island where anything is possible.
Eight years later, that island is my home. Manhattan has grown me. There is nothing better than getting dressed up and walking down 5th Avenue. Lincoln Center conjures a feeling of greatness that posits inspiration and confidence in passersby. Manhattanites work painstakingly hard and hardly sleep- I truly believe they feed on the old brick, the shadowy willows of Central Park, the brunching lovers in Union Square, and the thunderous force of Midtown's energy. Just walk through Grand Central and you can almost see Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn running to meet someone leaning against the information booth. The West Village is still steeped in the poetry of Dylan. And I swear, whenever I go to the 21 Club I half imagine Frankie Blue Eyes is waiting there for me.
The point isn't that New York is a backdrop to make believe and puffery- it is the opposite. New York evokes in us, special few, who accept its grandeur- that we are capable of achieving greatness. That greatness, to us, didn't exist anywhere else. And, that greatness is just around the corner, always in New York- for you never know who you will meet or what kind of fortuitous kindling this City will throw at you.
What makes it all possible is the proximity. On the island, everyone lives and works in such close proximity that chance encounters are the standard and not the exception.
There is a quote by E.B. White that states "one should only come here if he is willing to be lucky." For those of us lucky enough to have been under New York's tutelage when we were young, we have learned to make ourselves lucky. New York breeds the type of mind that seeks luck, conjures luck, and becomes luck. And sledding through Times Square in the middle of a snowstorm, is truly like nothing else. That's why I stayed, went to law school, grappled with fate, fell in and out of love, and became a New Yorker.