This love affair with New York began 17 years ago. My first trip here came with a friend named Sequoia from Long Island. I instantly dug the energy of the city, the way the lights twinkled in the distance and the pulse of the streets. I loved the way the cars and trains moved to beat of music in my headphones as my hips swayed when I walked. The ability to engage life on my own schedule – eat, sleep, drink or dance when I felt it was time, and not when dictated by store closings, traffic and tight liquor laws which closed bars as 2 am. I loved the men who held a 9-5 and a hustle – legit or not, and the quick pace of a people moved by the winter’s cold even when it was 90 degrees out. The stark contrast to the laxadasical, LA lifestyle was a motivator to a 20-Something on the grind. I loved how accessible art and culture were, and how the city created green spaces for momentary escapes from the urban jungle, and how even on the smallest amount of money, you could find something to eat, even if it was just $1 pizza.
When I lived in LA, I traveled back and forth to NY every 4–6 weeks. I moved to NY for 5 years, but even then I flew back and forth between LA and NY, (and other destinations.) For 4 years, I was on the road for 3 weeks out the month. I always found myself exhaling as the New York City skyline approached my view out the window seat of my plane. As the wheels touched down, I would instantaneously begin grinning ear to ear. New York always felt like home. Some might complain about the smell of trash on the streets in the summer – but to me it smells like sweat equity and opportunities.
When I left LA this last time, I was planning to move to Miami. I had visions of bikini days and stiletto nights like in my teens. Once in Brooklyn for the summer before my move, I knew I couldn’t leave. My relationship had fallen apart, and I was Happy, single and in the place which provided me with the most inspiration. Today as I snuggled into my subway seat for my ride home… I grinned ear to ear. While my life is so different than it was in my 20s, or 30s… this Brooklyn living in my 40s, has so much going for it. Do I reminisce of my carefree, reckless 20s? Periodically. However, I wouldn’t trade my joy for anyone else’s.