The Big Apple of My Eye

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Some of the best friends I’ll never make are in New York. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to meet them all. That is the city’s great mystique, encouraging (indeed forcing) interaction while hoarding its people for itself. For some its the way of New York; they belong to the city and no one else. For the rest of us, it seems difficult to imagine the immensity of the place and its capacity for allowing simultaneous exposure and anonymity.

New York thrives on synchronous creation. People go to New York to create themselves without realizing that the city can only create itself from its people. Not a dangerous dependence, but one that is inescapable. A mere presence there allows the city to crawl inside you, perhaps to an abandoned nook of your personality, perhaps someplace more prominent. There it waits for the opportunity to spring itself. And it will. New York is nothing if not surprising.

Apathy is not an emotion to be associated with this particular metropolis. New York is a highly emotive place where feelings and thoughts, dreams and sorrows are amplified. Everything you ever did or didn’t do is magnetically drawn to the surface to be confronted. Suddenly, for everything in New York is sudden, you find yourself faced with unlimited possibility. New York is a city for asking, “Why not?”

For some, the electrifying potential seems daunting. So they leave, telling themselves that they can now cross NYC off some elusive mental bucket list, justifying their presence while simultaneously (there’s that word again) dismissing missed opportunity and things undone. Some convince themselves they don’t like it there, that they would almost rather be anywhere else, that New York holds nothing for them. But the city has already claimed them, whether they know it (and accept it) or not. And some of us leave reluctantly, knowing that everything now will pale in comparison with this place. We know we’ll be back. In fact, most of us have already begun planning our return visit because trying to resist the urge feels unnatural, uncomfortable. The city has claimed a part of us, and we acknowledge it freely, unashamedly, knowing part of the attraction lies in the reality that we will never be able to visit the same New York twice. We’ll be back there. How could we not be? It’s a fun quest, searching for that part of ourselves that the city snuck away while we weren’t looking and knowing that even if we found it we would give it up all over again.

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