New York

New York…concrete jungle that dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do…

The first time I went to New York I was three. The only thing I remember about that trip was my dad carrying me on his shoulders to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

Growing up, I idolized it. I’m very much of a city girl and in my mind that was the ultimate city. In eighth grade, my plans were to go to NYU’s film school. In high school, I slowly lost my interest to make movies and writing was on my agenda. Then I got a boyfriend and Indianapolis didn’t seem so bad. Which it’s not at all, it’s a great city. After 9/11, it really made me look at NYC more closely. Then in my fourth year in college, I interviewed a reporter about being a journalist.  She grew up in the city and I was absolutely fascinated to hear her talking about it. Then after hearing the hosts on Cosmo Radio talk about their every day life, over time I had felt like I understood the city.  I knew what they were talking about. So I thought…

New York was always number one on my places to go when I could afford it. But I didn’t know when that would be. So when Cosmo Con presented itself, I knew I just had to.

As I was driving into the city, I was overcome with emotion as soon as I saw the Empire State building. Not tears, but just a really good “this is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now,” feeling.

As I got into the city, I realized it wasn’t what I thought it was. I thought I knew about the city when in fact, I knew nothing.

The buildings tower over your head. I’m used to cities and buildings being built out and they build up. I thought that only applied to buildings, but it applies to everything. The first time I saw cars stacked  for parking made me realize this. I love how they utilize every ounce of space they have.

Front doors for many are three or four steps down tucked away with trash cans and bags on the street before. Or, you have to walk up. Traffic is bumper to bumper 24/7. People fill every part of sidewalks and some street lanes. Carts are everywhere selling everything from food and desserts to clothing and knock-off bags. There are no such things as speed limits or lanes, or really any rules on the road. And while they have “No Honking at Any Time. $350 fine” signs on every street corner, the city is filled with the sound of honking, people talking, walking, laughing, yelling and whistling. Add in the sounds of construction, planes and the hum of busses and the subway. It’s anything but quiet.

And they are known as the city that never sleeps. I didn’t realize how true that was. I went non-stop for my first two days there and by Saturday morning I was exhausted. We slept until probably 11 a.m.

A lot of what made me so tired was all the walking. But I loved it. While I do feel free when I get a chance to drive anywhere I want, there’s something different about walking to and from. It provides a different sense of freedom that I got a taste of when I was in college and walked everywhere. You do have to rely on public transportation, which is something that isn’t too strong in Indianapolis. Where I’m from, subways are non-existant, you call ahead for a cab and busses are filled with people you wouldn’t want to ride on with. There, people stand in the street with an arm up in the air to hail a cab. It’s a game, really. Finding one is hard enough, let alone when there are five or six people standing there with you too. And if you steal someone’s cab, or get in one that takes your cash and keeps their service light on, you’re destined to get cursed at. I found the subways fascinating too. It took me all of my trip to figure out which train takes me back to where I need to be. I couldn’t imagine learning the whole system if I had to transfer trains. All I knew is the “R” train got me back. I guess I could’ve taken the “N” or the “Q” train, but the “R” train to Cortlandt Street was my stop.

The other thing that I enjoyed were the people. The fashion. Everyone was so different and yet they carried themselves so differently. There was a confidence among New Yorkers I hadn’t seen anything quite like before. Everyone was always dressed well. All the fashion I’ve seen in magazines I was able to see in person. And there, it was perfect. You put those people in little ol’ Greenfield, Indiana and you’re going to get looked at.  And it amazed me the girls that walked far distances in stilettos.

The city is also filled with tiny dogs, homeless sleeping on subway benches, police offers on each street (very nice, may I add), bicycles and mopeds weaving in and out of traffic, and restaurants and stores everywhere. I figured places like SoHo and Tribecca would look different. They don’t.

I love how packed the city is. You could probably try a new restaurant everyday for years and not go to the same place twice–same for stores. I enjoyed the options, even if they were expensive. The food there was so good. Everything I ate was wonderful and didn’t taste processed. Here, the major restaurants are chains .There, we tried all kinds of unique places.

So factoring in the good food and tons of walking, it was like a workout. It felt good.

All in all, if I have a description for New York City, I’d say it’s the most beautiful cluster-&$%# I’ve ever seen. It’s dysfunctionally functional. I don’t understand how it works. And I’m sure those there don’t either. But it just works.

I absolutely loved it there. I could live there. I love the city. I loved every minute of it. It felt right. Very inspiring. I only touched the surface. I can’t wait to get more. Until next time, New York. Until next time.

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