Leaving New York

(Sorry for the delay, this was written about 6 weeks ago)

Sitting in Frankfurt Airport, sleepy and confused

It seems crazy to think that I ever had the opportunity to move to New York

Never mind the idea that the incredible year of adventures is finished

When I left the UK 13 months ago, I wasn’t sure if I would like it – although I knew I loved New York, I didn’t know if I’d suit living/working there, maybe I’d realise I was a home bird after all (don’t laugh, anything is possible)

I didn’t know if I could be away from my friends, my family, the comfort of what I knew

In reality, New York felt like home from the first second

More like home than home ever felt

And that didn’t really change, other than maybe a couple of weeks to a month in the summer

Atmosphere

Is something that I have never found a match to in any other city I have been to

Sure, places like Chicago, San Francisco, Berlin, Lisbon, all have a place in my heart and I love those cities, but they are not New York

I have never experienced anywhere that you walk outside and pass through so many cultures in one street

See people from different countries, hear different accents and languages

Its madness sometimes

And the most unsettling accent, by the end of the year, was when I heard Brits, especially Scottish and Cockney accents

Noise

It must drive some people mad

The constant noise of taxis, ambulances, restaurants, subways, people

Everywhere

All making noise, all wanting to be louder than the next

But for me, it’s the sound of New York that I love

I remember when I interviewed with Episcopal Charities and the first thing I heard when I picked up the phone was a siren from an ambulance going to the hospital two blocks away

That second, I got goose bumps, and I knew I had to be there, no matter what it took

A week or two after I arrived in the city, I called home and got my dad

Who I ended up staying on the phone to for about 45 minutes, just because he was so excited to hear the crazy background noise as I walked to the subway (and then past about 7 stations)

And my dad never likes to stay on the phone, so this was a big deal!

Sight

It isn’t just about the tall buildings, that make you feel tiny

Or the fantastic skyline that I was fortunate to see from my window – the only advantage to staying in Jersey

It was seeing crowds of people cross with the lights in Herald Square

People dressed in ridiculous outfits on the subway

Street performers on the subway, the station, street corners – as annoying as they could be at times

Watching kids ride the subway and learning how to count from the stations – kids of New York must grow up to be the most street wise little hipsters

Smell

Yeah, fair enough, this one wasn’t always great

Especially on the subway, particularly if a homeless person was in the carriage – that weird smell of stale tex-mex that lingered, I still can’t quite work out what it was, just a vile stench

Or the smell of hot rubbish in the summer that was like puke

But then there were the good ones

Central Park in summer – a mixture of cut grass, sun cream, ice cream

Roasted nuts, gyros, coffee, anything that was easily available from a street cart that would always catch my attention

Although I only ever went for the coffee – just couldn’t work out what the other stuff was

Taste

From my first experience of New York, food wasn’t really something high on my list of things to find before I arrived – 6 people, just finding a table was the goal

But after a month or so, I realised I had just been looking in the wrong places before

There were so many things that I loved, that are unlikely to ever be as good at home

The main one: bagels. I love bagels. With a tonne of cream cheese, or lox spread.

For a while, it was my Friday morning treat (or at least payday Friday) if I had cash in my purse.

I would get off the subway a stop early and go to Absolute Bagels on 107 for an everything bagel, toasted, with cream cheese

I’d eat half on the way, because I couldn’t wait, and the other half at my desk, just so everyone would know that I got a great bagel that morning!

Cookies from Levaine Bakery, I will have to tackle myself, they were too good to wait for

Looks like a scone or a rock, crispy on the outside, gooey (basically raw) on the inside, full of chocolate and so unbelievably amazing

Korean food became an amazing go to when I didn’t know what I wanted and just needed to eat and the market on 32nd street had so many options that I never had to get the same thing twice – plus it was on the way home

Touch

It’s not exactly clean

But then, with so many people living on top of each other in such a densely packed area

And all using the same public transport system

It’s a miracle that it’s as clean as it is

Unlike the people that constantly sanitised, it never bothered me

Endless Opportunities

I could never grow tired of New York

I grew tired, really, exhausted

But not of New York

From, New York

I never wanted to waste a day, that would be the ultimate sin

I wanted to experience everything it had to offer

So I did

Just about

Sure, there were things I could have still done, but I need a reason to go back

I went to 5 Broadway shows, 3 Burlesque shows, 3 Baseball games, 2 Basketball games, 2 restaurant weeks, 2 Operas, 2 Ballets, 1 American football game, 1 football game, 1 WWE performance, 1 6am Daybreaker rave, multiple parades, countless food markets

And on top of that, at least 23 cities and 10 states

And NASCAR

And a Rodeo

And drove a car

It has been quite a year!

Thank you New York, it has been a pleasure, and I will definitely see you soon!

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