New York is a magical place. As cliché as that sounds, it is 100% accurate. Just ask why thousands of people move there every week.
Though never a true resident, I have spent so much time there that collectively it comes out to at least three seasons of brisk walking, dodging impeccably-dressed shoulders, avoiding the handles in the subway, and falling in love at every street corner. Each neighborhood is small on the map, but rich with individual character.
In the past, I’ve always visited during the summer, so a chilly, skinny, peppermint-mocha flavor trip sounded like a blast. Bundling up, nipping into stores, and cozying up at gay bars is just a different experience than a sweltering, wind-less New York July.
In hindsight, it was the perfect three-night escape…enough to absorb Manhattan’s heightened human density, perpetual advertising and exhaustion, and all the best <insert industry> the world can offer.
Unlike other destinations, New York is always changing, so it never solicits a familiar glance. It is, in fact, the ultimate in disguises and cosmetic enhancements. Forget Las Vegas – the effective newborn of the US. New York is an elder, utterly fabulous statesman, forever scrubbing the surfaces and applying a newer, better, more amazing layer of glossy veneer to its historic bones. Stay away for a couple years and it’s easy to come back to discover an entirely new set of restaurants, bars, and stores.
I am always amazed at the speed of activity and movement and change that occurs. Since I’m such a retail owl, I notice those changes first. New boutiques in Soho, new kiosks and renovated spaces at Bloomingdale’s. New flagships, new designers, newer, hipper neighborhoods and hangouts.
What I like, and what I expect can become a problem too, is the constant stimulation. Beauty, grit, and everything in between is all around. People are stylish, but two vastly different humans can share the same sidewalk or (at separate moments) the same cab. It is a city of juxtapositions.
The ultimate tourist attraction is the intangible New York – smells, sound, taste. People, attitude. Interactions. Monday morning on the subway, a pair of seasoned performers sang a perfect This Little Light of Mine, deserving my $2. I smiled at baristas, chatted with shopkeepers, winked at bartenders, and locked eyes with cute guys in Hell’s Kitchen.
What I get out of my time in the city isn’t a shopping haul, or a happy hangover. It’s a reminder of my vitality, my social skill, and my long-held belief that someday, I’ll belong there. The living isn’t easy, and there is endless competition…but there isn’t anything else like it in the world.