Would you believe I moved to this city by covering eleven states in two days while driving a Uhaul from Texas? There is something to be said for being young, naive and convinced you know what’s right all the time. I had some real nerve.
So here I am, seven years into my relationship with New York City. And how is it going, you ask? Well, I’ve definitely gained some important people in my life along the way. The city was quite the romantic backdrop to our little love story. Never a lack of exciting new things to try or places to explore. Now, it has been the most vibrant and entertaining place to raise Parker. It was pretty comical to spend my first pregnancy in this crazy place. Waddle walking through the streets and hearing innocent cat calls only to turn around, with full belly then in sight, and be like really? But hey, where would our self esteem be without those construction workers? I, for one, sure do appreciate their devotion to the whistle. I mean, yea, I know I looked good that other morning (I actually washed my hair) and thank you for acknowledging it. It’s equally comical to attempt to raise a child here. The daily schlepping, the closet turned nurseries, the decade wait list for a daycare, the fear she’ll never take to the feeling of grass…. all things that cause me to ironically love this city and also shake my fist at it at the same time. Things I never even imagined I'd be experiencing in this city while unloading my Uhaul.
Equally, there’s a lot that is lost when you take up residence in the concrete jungle. For starters, long gone is my ability to responsibly operate a motor vehicle. We are going on six years and it more closely resembles an elderly person who never took drivers ed. Personal space is something I don’t expect to have, ever. And my petite calves now appear like small baseballs from all the subway stairs and walking I’ve done to transport myself around this city. Trust me, there’s a lot of places on my body I’d kill to have toned muscle, but my calves have never been the most desired area for that. You don’t get cat calls for calf muscles. So, thanks for that New York.
I know it is said a lot and it can become pretty trite, but there really is nothing like living here. I’m glad my seriously daring and adventurous younger self didn’t think twice. The city and I are constantly in a series of textbook fights (hour long subway delays underground in a car that smells like cat pee) and make up sessions (perfect fall weather, a surprise street market and the potential talk of a Trader Joe’s moving in close by). And every year, we city kids throw ourselves 'New York-aversary' parties to celebrate that great day we first stepped off the praire and onto the city streets. I always wonder if there is ever such a love affair as a New Yorker has with their city.
In one of my favorite love letters to the city, Here Is New York, E.B. White writes:
“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something....Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”