9 Things You Only Miss About New York After Being Away From It
New Yorkers have a love/hate relationship with their city. On a good day, the city is magical, whimsy is around every corner, culture is bursting in the streets; it's the center of the universe and there's no better place to be. On a bad day, it's a filthy craphole with a terrible attitude and awful inhabitants. As someone who was born and raised in and around New York City, I've noticed something peculiar about the people who claim to love the city all the time. Upon further investigation, I've come to learn that these people don't spend all of their time in New York. They travel for work, they spend the winter out West, or the summer on Long Island. They're never here long enough to let the soot collect under their nails or to let rush hour subway cramping toy with their sanity.
About five years ago, I thought I was done with New York. I thought I'd had my fill, hit my limit, and decided I had to get out before it ate me alive with its cockroaches, overcrowding, car alarms and police sirens that rip me awake at night. So, I moved to Los Angeles. But then a funny thing happened, after a few years living the West Coast life — where it's much quieter, the cockroaches prefer to be outside and the temperatures make up for the traffic — I started to miss New York.
When I'd come home to visit friends and family, my stomach would ache and my heart would become heavy. I missed New York. And finally, I missed it so much that I moved back. And while I appreciate the city more after being away from it (like many do), I still very much struggle with that love/hate relationship. But I think the key to appreciating the city (when you feel you don't) is to step away from it and live somewhere else for a while. New York never tastes as sweet as when you've been away. These are the nine things I appreciate the most after taking some space:
Nowhere else in this country is public transportation so accessible and useful. The subway might be filthy, it might be unpredictable and there's always a chance you'll sit down in a puddle of someone's urine or step onto the train that gets delayed in-between stations for two hours, but on a whole, the transportation system in New York is incredible. There's no need for a car so you don't need to worry about parking tickets or traffic or drunk driving. The subway's there for you, 24/7.
Sure, the city might feel too crowded most of the time, but it's nice to know that you're not special, sometimes. The city is so large and so vast, it's easy to go under the radar and have a day to yourself, even if you spend it in public.
New York starts early and stays up late. Nowhere else can you pack as much productive hours into your day as you can in New York. Coffee shops are open late and there's always somewhere you can drag your laptop late night — including bars.
New York has so many industries that it's easy to step outside of your own, socially. It's always an option to mix it up and spend time with people in other professions who live very different lives in the same city. A new friend is literally always around the corner.
After half a decade without snow, I missed it. It's nice to have seasons, it gives you a sense of change and transition. It lets you reset and change gears every few months. It also allows you to experiment with more kinds of fashion. Besides, New York can be really magical with a fresh layer of snow. (Before the slush and street corner flooding.)
Ability To Walk Everywhere
It's nice to know that if you want to, you can walk the whole city. If public transportation is not an option, assuming you're not pressed for time, using your own two legs is an option. Walking in New York can be a social activity, too. It's nice to meet up with a friend in one neighborhood and wander into an other.
There's always something new to learn about New York's history. The apartment I moved into after living in Los Angeles was built over a hundred years ago and had original detail from the 1800s. Sure the heat was faulty, and sure the pipes were leaky, but man, I never got tired of the tin ceilings and stained windows. Most of the borough of Brooklyn looks exactly the same as it did a hundred years ago, and that's pretty effin' cool.
It's true. They're just not as good anywhere else. The chew, the texture — only New York knows the secret to the perfect bagel.
Images: Giphy, Courtesy of Kaitlyn Wylde