New York City has everything, in a comforting yet overwhelming way. It’s full of every kind of person doing anything a human can possibly do. Seeing homeless people eating out of trashcans or a strained businessman yelling at cars is a daily occurrence. I walk out my door and I’m in the middle of anything I could dream up. There’s so much good food and so much shitty food, good music and shitty music, good shows and shitty shows. There’s extremely wealthy people and homeless people occupying the same streets. There’s history and there’s the future. All of these things combine to put you in one very distinct state of mind, a “New York State of Mind.” Thank you to Billy Joel for articulating that.
For me the thrill of this began to wear off around the same time that my wallet began to empty out. With everything outside my door, I began to feel a sense of being trapped. I’m trapped financially, because everything costs so much, I’m trapped because there’s nowhere to be alone, and I’m trapped because my apartment is a ten-foot by ten-foot box.
I have mixed feelings about living in New York. It is the land of opportunity and anything could happen any day. You could be taking a mellow stroll in Central Park when you see something that you’ll be telling as a story for the rest of your life. Sometimes, when getting on the subway, you’ll hear the most beautiful music echoing through the underground, man-made cave. You’ll wonder why this person playing could be in the subway and not up on a stage in Lincoln Center. Then you’ll remember where Bob Dylan started, in these very subways. And you’ll think again, anything can happen here.
But, because anything can happen does that mean it will happen? Absolutely not. If you’re a person who’s easily discouraged, then New York isn’t for you, because you’ll spend day after day getting cold looks and job rejections before anything great will happen. It can be soul breaking, and having previously lived in New Orleans, I know the contrast to soul breaking.
New York City has a very distinct life style and it isn’t for everyone. If you have an interest in moving here, I say go for it, it could very well be for you. That’s the case for over eight million people. Just don’t be fooled by the pretty picture TV shows and songs paint of it.