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a love letter to new york

I grew up in what I would call a’ big’ small town. We have a TJ Maxx, and plenty of grocery stores. But the people here, and the foundation of my county is that of a small town. It’s a rural area on the water, with plenty of farms and corn fields. It was the best place to grow up.

In highschool, I began traveling to New York city to take dance classes. I hadn’t ever been there as a child, but I had seen it on TV. I was obsessed with many books and movies that take place there. Eloise at the Plaza. I wanted to be Eloise and feel the grandness of the Plaza. And Gossip Girl too. The first time I stepped into the city, I was 16. I remember realizing I hadn’t ever been anywhere like that.

I was instantly in love. I started telling everyone that’s where I was going to live someday. Like in Ladybird when she's ranting about how she wants to go to New York and not in state like her mom wants, that entire scene was fully me in high school. After my first semester in college at VCU wasn’t working out, I knew it was because New York was pulling me to it. Like I had no choice. My best friend, Sophie, was already enrolled at a college in NYC and after I visited her that fall semester, I knew that’s where I wanted to be.

Sophie and I moved into an apartment that next fall, and it’s where we remained together for the next three years. Our apartment was the best first apartment anyone could ask for. New York is known for its small living spaces, and while ours was small, it was also plenty spacious. It had a long hallway and taller ceilings in the kitchen so you felt like you were truly coming home to a home every time. Or maybe it just felt that way because I got to live with my best friend. We didn’t have a living room, but we had a section of the kitchen that our little green couch fit beautifully in.That’s where we ate every meal together. It had pretty hardwood floors and a bathtub. We got a special deal being that it was newly remodeled and they wanted it rented out. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

New York is the only place in the world that will speak to you personally. It will tell you exactly what you need, how you feel, and more and you don’t even have to leave your apartment. Just one look out the window, even.

You will come across all different types of people. Similar or different from yourself, excited or sad. You can find so many new beginnings and nostalgic moments that feel like a big hug.

My favorite place in the world is Central Park. There is a feeling you get being there. Everywhere you look, everyone looks like they belong. Like they’re happy no matter where they came from. Listening to music, watching the trees move. Children riding their scooters. The joy is happening all together. Everyone has stepped out of the chaos just for a moment.

There’s something to be said about the chaos too. You can become invisible. This could be considered both good and bad. But don’t let that make you think that New Yorkers don’t have your back. I once almost slipped down a huge stairwell in the subway station. I’m laughing as I type this. I slipped and my phone went flying. A man immediately caught my arm, and another woman handed me my phone at the bottom of the stairs.

There were definitely hard days. One day there was a snowstorm and me and Sophie still had to trek through it all to get groceries. Carrying a month's worth of laundry several blocks and spilling my laundry detergent right outside of the laundromat. Days when I felt unsafe walking alone for various reasons. But that stuff proved something to me too. I can be brave and physically stronger than I think.

New York encapsulates people at its core. It's got records of art and experiences like no other. You can see and meet people with all different backgrounds. It was the absolute best place to be in my early twenties.

Where we go from there? I’m not sure.

I do know I’ll take a piece of New York there though.




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