Why I Love NYC
I was in love with New York. I do not mean ‘love’ in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and never love anyone quite that way again. - Joan Didion
I live in the country. My heart, on occasion, resides in New York City. It’s hard to explain the dichotomy to most people, who tend to be one or the other. I’ve made the choice at this point in my life to be a country girl, but I confess, sometimes I have a cheating heart.
I lived in NYC long enough to appreciate both it’s sentimental quirks and unique allure. The city can be frustrating, the people cold and unfriendly. The city can also be accommodating and the inhabitants one of the most helpful I’ve come across. But this post won’t be a dissertation on why New York City is the best city in the world. I can only share what I have captured which is insignificant at best. Like any love affair, especially an illicit one, sometimes it’s the seemingly insignificant things that stick in your mind. So here are my reasons for loving NYC — illustrated with both words and pictures.
When I step into Greenwich Village, it feels like I’m stepping back into an Edith Wharton novel. Walk along the Washington Mews with it’s cobblestone streets and pastel doors and you will feel as if you’re Lily Bart, slinking past the carriage houses to visit her wealthy friends in the mansions along Fifth Avenue.
Each street in the village has something to offer and I can write a paean to the West Village on its own. I lived on lower Fifth avenue for over ten years and when I visit, it still feels like home to me.
The angles and shadows make me feel as if I’m walking through a de Chirico painting
The light in NYC can take on a surreal quality thanks to the ever shifting sunlight and building shadows, which can darken a sun drenched walk along University Place in a matter of minutes.
The old and new mesh both seamlessly and discordantly, resulting in a cacophonous display that is uniquely NYC
This is both a blessing and a curse. My heart lies with the old NY but NY is a city that lives and breathes, is born and reborn in the span of a few months. There is nothing static about the city — it transforms itself for its inhabitants until the place you once called home is no longer recognizable.
The city from above is like a Russian nesting doll — you realize as you look down there are many cities within this one, an infinite number of worlds hidden from view holding secrets we will never know.
Each building is its own microcosm and each neighborhood is its own metropolis, encompassing a culture unique to that set of streets. Upper West Side secrets are different from Chelsea secrets which are not the same as the mysteries hidden in the tenements of the lower East Side. Everyone is from somewhere else and even when they’re not, their parents or grandparents are.
The Public library is a treasure, containing gifts of grace and knowledge. 125 miles of book stacks, marble floors and the soaring space that is the Rose Reading Room It’s hard to describe the feeling of stepping in to the vast space and walking along the marble floors. This is a library that is meant to be visited over and over, whether it’s to gawk at its hidden spaces or sink into a comfy nook to stare at the ceilings.
Not everyone has the same appreciation for life in NYC but for me, it will always be the place I go when I want creative inspiration and the sounds and structure of an urban world.