Contrary to the impression I give off here, I don’t constantly walk around New York all starry-eyed, ooh-ing and aah-ing at tall buildings and pigeons, while wearing an “I ❤️ NY” shirt (although I’ve been meaning to get one for a while). Most days, I’ll encounter something about New York that annoys me, usually falling under the category of too smelly, too dirty, or too expensive. With this in mind plus all the constraints of a pandemic, I get why some people would want to leave the city. Even in “normal” times, New York is a tough place to live. But despite it all, there is so much to love. Allow me to be sappy as I tell you the reasons why I love New York.
Because New York has an oversized ego.
When Paul Jury summed up New York as the “world’s 14th biggest city; first biggest ego,” he wasn’t wrong. New Yorkers have been talking about how great we think we are ad nauseam since 1807, at least. There is no shortage of books, movies, and songs written about this city. It’s a little over the top but there’s something heartwarming about millions of people sharing your hometown pride.
Because New Yorkers bond over inconveniences.
As weird as it sounds, it’s not the good things that tend to bring New Yorkers together; it’s the crappy things. Whether it’s the bus being twenty minutes late on a brutally cold winter night or having your D train suddenly become an F train running on the Q line, something about being inconvenienced makes New Yorkers open up to one another. As the saying goes, the city that complains together, stays together.
Because New Yorkers are good Samaritans.
Believe it or not, but there are numerous videos floating around the internet showing New Yorkers stepping up to help someone out. Like that time when someone’s luggage wheel was trapped between a train and the platform so a dozen straphangers shook the train until the bag was loose. Or the time when a group of strangers freed a woman who was pinned under a car. Or the countless times New Yorkers have saved people who have fallen onto the subway tracks. I’m fairly confident that if I ever need serious help like that some New Yorker will come to the rescue.
Because everyone is either a weirdo, dreamer, hustler, or schemer.
Or some combination of them all. You don’t have to be afraid to let your freak flag fly or to pursue your dreams, because millions of other people are here doing the same.
Because everybody that has become somebody has been here at one point.
You don’t need me to list all the famous and notable people who have lived in New York at some point in their lives. There are tons of Wikipedia pages devoted to that. And even if they didn’t end up staying here, they always say that the city had some effect on them.
Because you can get the best of big city life and the suburbs if you know where to look.
For the upteempth time: you do not have to leave New York City to have a house with a backyard! If you would look past Manhattan, you would see that these are normal amenities in the outer boroughs. In fact, a lot of these suburban creature comforts can be found if you’re willing to be less Manhattan-centric.
Because of our food culture.
What cuisine are you in the mood for? I’ll bet you anything that there’s a restaurant in New York that serves it. You may have to schlep all the way to Queens to get it, but it is there.
Because you’ll never run out of things to do.
So you’ve walked the High Line, been to the Top of the Rock, and dropped a penny off of the Empire State Building (disclaimer: don’t do that!). You may want to extend that weekend trip to a lifetime trip because you haven’t even scratched the surface of things to experience in this town. Unless you’ve walked every inch of the five boroughs, you can’t say you’ve done it all. And even then, you’ll have to do it again because this city is always changing.
Because New York is a microcosm of the United States.
To be more accurate, New York is a microcosm of the whole world! With over 800 languages spoken here and neighborhoods nicknamed Little Italy, Little Odessa, Little Yemen, and Little Caribbean, you can experience different cultures without ever hopping on a plane.
Because it has been burnt to the ground, plagued, bankrupt, bombed, and plagued some more and yet it’s still here.
In its 400 years of existence, New York City has seen countless moments of ascension and destruction. Some of these moments, of course, were more massive than others, but no matter what, New York has endured it all. So before you jump on the “New York is dead” bandwagon, you might want to open a NYC history book or two. I’ll be glad to offer you some suggestions.
So that’s why I love New York and why my feet will be planted in this city for the foreseeable future. Feel free to share why you love New York or why you hate it. But don’t you dare say that New York is dead. 😡
As always, if you like what I do here at Shiloh in the City and you want to learn more about NYC from the perspective of a mildly amusing, black native New Yorker and urban explorer, sign up for my email list and follow me on social media. Thanks for reading!