New York, New York. Oh, what a magical place. I don’t even remember when I decided that NYC was THE PLACE to visit and live, but I’d have to say it was around the time that New York Minute (a classic Mary-Kate & Ashley film – in case you were living under a rock in the noughties) came out on DVD. Hell, it was probably earlier than that, but my sleep-muddled brain can’t come up with an exact timespot right now.
The point is that I’ve loved New York City for as long as I can remember. It’s always been the first place I blurt out when someone asks me where I ultimately want to travel to, and it has always been a goal for me to live and work over there, in a groovy loft-style apartment in Brooklyn/Tribeca/Williamsburg. Of course now that dream has become a little trickier; with dealing with working visas and the fact that I need to have a somewhat established career to be able to snag a job in that ruthless concrete jungle, and now that Brooklyn loft vibe has become oh so trendy which = oh so expensive and hard to come by.
But this post is not about practicalities! It’s about NYC being one of my many Soul Cities, places that I have always felt connected to on a higher level, before ever visiting them. This series, which unintentionally kicked off with my exploration of Byron Bay in this lengthy post, surrounds these various places and their magic, and tries to dissect exactly why I am so obsessed with these cities and countries.
So why exactly do I love NYC so darn much? Is it the idyllic stoops and fire escapes, the never ending maze of perfectly curated parks and gardens, the treasure hunt for vintage boutiques and record stores, or the darn right fabulous fashion muses strutting along the worn pavement? I guess it’s all of this and more. New York City, to me, just seems to be the place where THINGS HAPPEN. Everything just seems cooler in New York. Even doing a walk of shame seems more glamourous when the character/person is wandering past vibrant flower stores and gourmet grocers. And yes, I know these things can all be found in other cities, but they won’t happen with the same allure of magic and charm. I don’t know why, but they just won’t.
Sure, NYC has been commercialised and advertised to us since we were babies. Manhattan is the place to BE if you’re anyone whose anyone, and a penthouse on Fifth Avenue is seen as the epitome of real estate heaven. And yet, I have always drawn to the Brooklyn-esque vibe of NYC. I know it’s all trendy and dabbed ‘full of hipsters’, but I’ve always envisioned Brooklyn as to where you’ll find up and coming designers and heaps of cool galleries and 15 different band gigs popping up throughout the burrow every night. I’ve always looked at it (from very afar) and thought: that place is me. It just seems to have everything I want and more out of a city. Of course I know that Brooklyn is a real place, with laws and social issues and garbage disposal and gangs, but none of this has managed to dampen my I<3NY bubble over the years.
Fast forward (or back) to September 2012, when I was granted my heart’s desire and got to visit New York. I went across the pond with my family as a bit of an impromptu trip (and by that I mean we decided to go in February/March of that year – kinda short notice for an overseas holiday!) for the September school holidays, in my final year of high school. We were in America for 2.5 weeks, so we spent roughly around 3 days in NYC, which was definitely not enough time to soak up the city and tick off all of my tourist goals, but I am grateful nonetheless for my precious time in the city.
It all seems like such a blur now, but I will never forget seeing that skyline for the first time, squished in the back of a taxi coming in from JFK. I remember breaking into the biggest, cheesiest grin, and possibly squealing a little when I saw the place that had been the back drop for my dreams for the last 17 years. Traffic heading into the city was of course, rubbish, and trying to snap a decent photo from the back of that cab was challenging, but I was ecstatic anyway.
I’ve decided not to include what we did in NYC in this particular post (but stay tuned for my NYC Travel Diaries VERY soon!) because this is about how that magical city made me FEEL. It was so surreal walking along the streets that I had seen in the movies, (although I didn’t get to tick a single Gossip Girl/SATC pitstop off my list 🙁 ), looking at the same scenery as millions have before me, and just genuinely gulping everything in. It was everything I expected it to be and more, and I was more than a little sad when it was time to pack our bags and head on to our next destination.
My whirlwind long weekend in NYC taught me a few things: 1) it is VERY cold there in September, so layer the heck up before you leave the comfort of your heated hotel. 2) It’s called ‘the city that never sleeps’ for a reason, so embrace that craziness and stay out all night, every night, exploring and learning as much as you can. 3) You will NEVER take enough photos of the place, and don’t be afraid to be ‘that tourist’ who wants a snap with everything cool, because you’ll look back at in in 4 years time and be totally grateful that your past self had the balls to take cheesy tourist shots with the Empire State Building in the background.
So now we’ve touched on my little love affair with NYC, here are some remedies to cure those ‘currently not travelling’ blues and keep that Big Apple obsession of yours well and truly alive. Enjoy x
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself gawking at the cute apartments and scenery more than the characters – although they are pretty great too.
How To Be Single
The Perfect Man
The Devil Wears Prada
The Amazing Spiderman
Maid in Manhattan
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
13 Going on 30
I Am Legend
It’s Kind of A Funny Story
The Other Woman
And for a little more long term viewing:
Sex and the City
How I Met Your Mother
Flight of the Conchords
And if you’re wanting to dream up the streets yourself:
Confessions series by James Patterson
The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
Detective Michael Bennett series by James Patterson
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan