I don’t think anyone has been able to aptly describe how magically intoxicating New York City is. Perhaps, F Scott Fitzgerald best sums it up:
“I began to like New York, the racy adventurous feel of it at night and the satisfaction that the constant flicker of men and woman and machines gives to the restless eye.”
I felt as though I was home, and yet, the city can make you feel invincible and invisible in the same second. Welcoming everyone, but accepting no one. There is an exclusivity and inclusivity that you will always find yourself teetering on the edge of, this burning need to belong versus a rebellious notion of it being more celebrated and revered to move alone, needing no one. The constant juxtaposition of beauty and grit lies deep within every structure and person that inhabits the city, the raw reality of it is breathtaking and beautiful. And it makes you feel alive.
The underground, serves as an elaborate metaphor for what lies beneath the surface of the ever evolving, growing and expanding city. A city always searching for new heights, driven by power, greed and more but rooted in the security of what remains unchanged.
Accustomed to always search for peace and quiet, I found the calming effect the certainty of the chaos brings, to be the most liberating and refreshing.
And even though, it is impossible to have these insights while standing in the middle of the subway platform, during rush hour, with people breathing down your neck and yelling at you to get out of the way while you desperately try to figure out whether you should be going uptown or downtown – in hindsight, it teaches you a lot about adaptability and resilience.
It also teaches you a general sense of direction, which I found myself to have very little of. Perhaps another metaphor?
The city that never sleeps can offer you everything, at any given moment. Except more time.
The heartbeat of the city coming alive with every building being lit up by the night sky.
You feel it, breathe it in, the possibility and opportunity that the city offers to you, the spark that you feel igniting with every step, the lost pieces of yourself that reveal themselves in every passing street.
But before you know it, your time is up.
But you leave changed. You now inhabit the same characteristics of the city. You are beautiful, You are gritty, You are always searching for more and reaching higher than ever expected, You are welcoming, but guarded. Above all, You are rooted in something steady and unchanging.