Sunday, April 19, 2015

New York in Another Light

When Crafty wrote her post about New York, it was strange for me. I don't know how to experience the world the way other people do, because I only know my own experiences. However, she references being afraid of cities and that's just something I don't know. I have never been afraid of cities. I'm terrified of people and extremely shy, but cities? They're just centralized hubs of culture, so what's to be scared of?!

Now, to be fair, I've traveled extensively, but this has always been my attitude. In college, I was really active in the music industry, as well as in nonprofits and activist causes. So I ended up spending a lot of time in New York. It's only a few hours away and everything was based there - or Boston, but Boston isn't big. And I'd spent many weekends in Boston growing up. But it never bothered me being in New York, and this was well before the gentrification started and Disney took over Times Square. Perhaps it was the ignorance of youth, but I found nothing terrifying about roaming the city alone. Now I look back and think I was really stupid, and my parents would be less than thrilled to know about the strangers' lofts I found myself in or the fact that I was too fearless to consider that maybe it was a bad idea to stroll through the Bowery by myself at 2 AM, but I'm here.

Anyway, that's not really the point, because those days are gone, along with a lot of the places I remember. The same is true of Boston. All the clubs and bars that were havens in my youth are now hotels, insurance companies, delis, etc. Life goes on - and gentrification takes all that doesn't move on naturally.

What I decided to do is start a sort of column about places I like in different cities. It will be heavily museum-focused, because that's where I feel happiest. However, there are little things I like about each city - and each city has a spirit that makes it unique. There are so many I haven't visited and want to see, but in reading through Crafty's post, I found myself thinking, This is SO not MY New York. Then again, if it's not my New York, what is? And what good is it to keep it between me and my husband? I'm not a native to the city and I certainly don't know all the hidden gems. I don't even know much beyond the tourist sites, really, because when I'm not hitting a museum or show, I tend to go back to the same few places. Sometimes I'm lucky and I stumble upon something new that I remember, and other times, I find a great place but will be damned if I can find it again. It's the nature of travel, and my husband and I are definitely big fans of spontaneity in that way (which is funny, because most of my personality is all about structure, and yet when I'm traveling, nothing is better than just seeing where you end up).

New York City is a monster. It's a living breathing force that changes as soon as you turn a corner. That's why I love it, because it combines the security of the places that are comfortable with the constant whir of humanity. When I'm asked if it's my favorite city, that's hard, because I also love London and Paris with the same ferocity, but it's up there.

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