these streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you....
I know I've been lax lately on the whole writing thing, but with lack of time on my hands, it's been a constant push to even have the time to write in the first place. Fortunately, with all moving done and a day to process everything that has happened in the past week, I decided to take a quick break from writing about music and talk about one of my other loves in life: New York City.
Ever since I could remember, my family would love taking trips into Manhattan and having the chance to do fun things. Whether it be a Broadway show, Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree, or celebrate an event with dinner, taking that 30-minute trek into the Big Apple always made me giddy with excitement and wonder. Even when I started working at Columbia Business School, I loved taking my time strolling down the streets, letting the familiar sounds of yellow cab car horns and random conversations fill me up with a sense of calm....as well as partaking in some of the most diverse cuisines one could ever find! It's like it has a personality of its very own....and when you've left it, it never leaves you.
Where else can you find Little Italy and Chinatown right next to one another?
One day, you could venture Uptown and hang around the Columbia University scene while the next, you could head down to the Village for some great dive clubs and original artists.
Attending the Ballet or an Opera can be done on short notice with a student id.
On certain days, front row tickets to a Broadway show could be trumped by eating pretzels in Central Park or walking the Brooklyn Bridge on a Sunday afternoon.
Crossing the street and walking past a celebrity or two is not uncommon.
It's a fashion mecca, a music scene, and a financial gateway all in one!
Depending on your interest, New York has a little something for everyone.
I once read somewhere that "When you leave New York, you ain't goin' nowhere." Now, for some it could mean the sense that you're leaving a place that can bring you further than any other place you've imagined, yet I take it as meaning that no matter how hard you try to walk away from it, New York tends to grow on you....always taking a piece of your heart in the process.
With that being said, last night, on kinda last minute notice, I visited a friend or two in the city for a night out. And as I boarded NJ Transit, I felt a sense of giddiness that I had not felt in a long time! It felt like I was returning to some familiar home, although that home is full of smelly garbage and people that will run you over on the sidewalk without so much as a backwards glance. But I didn't care. I felt like a kid on Christmas, surrounded by shimmering lights and the promise that maybe in my recent craziness of trying to make something of myself, I could accomplish anything that I dreamed of.
Walking those city blocks, sharing some coffee talk in one of the many Starbucks around Manhattan, pushing my way through the crowds that clamor to reach the subway stairs....I felt at home. Sure, living at the beach has become my favorite home so far, but New York City will always hold that piece of my heart. Though it can be hard, cruel, and spit you out at the mere thought of kindness, I admire its tenacity and strength to keep going. One could argue that NYC has a personality of its very own, but it's up to the person who walks through it to figure out how they mesh with it.
As a new goal for this year, I want to start spending more time in my other home. As a way to further my progress on myself, I need that sense of home to re-connect with passion and drive on new levels. It was Dr. James Hillman who wrote "you come to New York to find the ambiance that will evoke your best." Whether or not that's true, I have yet to see. But I do know one thing: I need New York to bring Jenn the writer out of her shell even more.
****On a side note, I would also like to take this time to remember that today is September 11th, a day that will always ring strong with every New Yorker, American, and any individual who was affected by its impact. Even after nine years, I can still remember where I was, what I was doing, and every emotion that went through me as I struggled to deal with the repercussions of the actions. What it taught me is that no matter what people do to try and hurt us, standing up proudly against injustice and intolerance is important.
While I know that as a nation, we still struggle with Islam and the ability to see past what Bin Laden did....showing tolerance and kindness to others is more important than pointing fingers at an entire culture of individuals because of a terrorist group and their crazy leader. I'm tired of all the fighting and backlashes that 9/11 produced in the process. Why can't we, as a nation, use our mind and exercise kindness and compassion to prove that in the end, Bin Laden did not win? Showing that despite his horrible, malicious actions, we still embrace and encourage freedom to all who desire it. That is how we truly win and stand as a nation.
But today is also a time to remember those who gave their lives today. All 2,977 victims. Their memories will live on, reminding us that the cost of our freedom isn't free, yet we cannot repair the damage with lashing out at others. For any American or individual who embraces the ability to be who you want to be, stand strong today (and every day). Enjoy life to the fullest and never forget what we sacrifice and the lessons we learn from it.****