I woke up in this morning in New York City and it wasn’t paradise. There were no palm trees outside and the weather had not completely pulled itself out of the winter slump, having dipped down into the 40s the night before. I woke up to drag my feet down to the subway stairs, down the platform, squeezed into the first train, transfer, squeezed into the second train, wait, wait, transfer, shift bag, stayed away from that guy with the cough, let them in, let them off, spaced out, woke up, got out and went to work. I know I wasn’t alone either.
In spite of this, every day we wake up for some reason bigger than our jobs or because we have to go to school. We are New Yorkers because of some sense of purpose. Those who chose to move here picked New York for a specific reason. Those who were born here decided to stay for a different reason and their parents and grandparents had their reasons, following generations of similar specific intent. No one lives in New York without a purpose.
I was born in Manhattan, grew up in Brooklyn and for twenty-five years I have been a New Yorker. I love and hate this city. It doesn’t take much to hate it. Any tourist will tell you that it’s dirty. Any New Yorker will tell you that studios on the Lower East Side are overpriced or that Times Square should be avoided at all costs. It is very easy to see how New York is a difficult place to live. It’s not as obvious to figure out why the hell living in New York might be a good idea.
As a result of all of this, I would like to help out with some regular reminders as to why we chose New York. Some of these reminders are as obvious as how amazing the Brooklyn Bridge looks morning, noon and night. Sometimes they are as small as a good sandwich or a stranger letting you have their seat on the subway. We have to keep reminding one another of these good things, as fellow New Yorkers, to prop one another up and keep the city strong. Or else, God help us, there’s no way out but Jersey.