It’s never easy to visit a place you’ve heard about for your entire life. There are so many opinions and impressions already in the ether, you feel your own experience will be just a version of someone else’s trip. At least, that’s how I felt about New York City.
As a distinctly west coast girl, New York City was always the magical place that could transform dreams into reality, pass you over like lightning and break you down to your core. It was raw and honest, and always, always…out there somewhere. It took armour of many sorts just to survive, or so I thought. I was prepared to meet this city with my game face on.
When I finally touched down, I felt a welcoming I didn’t expect. That first afternoon of arrival, I walked through Central Park, felt the springtime warmth and saw the beauty in the nature and humanity huddled there. The rest of the trip was like a whirlwind, but I felt at home. I could handle this city, with its grid-like neighborhoods, status-leveling public transportation and a surprise around every corner. This city could be mine, if I wished it so.
The full heartbeat of New York City cannot be understood in just a few days time, I am certain. But I did catch a glimpse of the openness, the wide-open acceptance to come as you are, and the feeling of belonging people must have felt for generations. It’s true, the city does break you down to your core, but that is where we are all human and just like one another. I think that’s what makes the city easier to handle – because however marginalized we may feel in other parts of our lives, in this city, we can live, just as we do everywhere.