I Love NY

(I found this love letter I wrote to my city some time ago and thought I would share it with you)   

 The first time I visited New York as a tourist was 14 years ago. I was living at home in Jamaica but had come to see my friend, Novia, and be a part of her college graduation. The only other US city I had visited at that point was Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a year prior. Through my eyes, the only similarities the cities shared was that they were both in the US. 

Where FL was easy going and relaxed, NY was fast paced and everyone seemed to be rushing everywhere. Where Florida was a sea of color, everyone in NY wore black. Where FL was spacious and I had to wait to get a ride to almost every place I visited, NYC was accessible by bus or the subway and I could buy a metro card and go almost anywhere I wanted for the same low, low price. I loved NY.
I moved here a year later.
A few days ago, I spent some time showing my friend Patrice around my adopted home and I remembered what it was like coming here oh so many years ago. I think about how many years it took, before I made my first trip to Central Park, because I lived and worked in the boroughs and even though people mentioned the park in passing, no one had explained just how beautiful it was. These days, I live close to the park and when I go for runs and walks, sometimes, I obsessively check my pace on my fitness watch instead of paying attention to the scenery in one of the most magical places in the city. 

Sometimes familiarity means we take things for granted so sometimes I walk down the streets of Harlem, busily trying to get to Starbucks to write, thinking of myself as a trendy writer, forgetting that decades ago, this was a community where the literary arts were celebrated and revered. 

Sometimes I get busy trying to get to the train station that I forget I am walking on the same streets that inspired Langston Hughes’ famous poetry.
I get off the train at 34th street and on my way to shop at Macy’s, sometimes I forget this is the same train station that services Madison Square Garden where the Knicks play, and where Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen and Beyoncé play to sold out crowds. And I can wander the 10 floors of the Macy’s Herald Square store, still the largest store in the world, and spend all my money buying items from the latest collections from my favorite designers. But I can also visit the Macy’s window and have an absolutely fabulous experience with the creative displays filling the shore windows, and not spend a dime.
I love the fact that the NYPL has a fantastic online system where I can reserve the latest books and pick them up at my favorite branch. So sometimes I visit the Countee Cullen branch to check out the latest nonfiction titles, sometimes forgetting that the other side of the building houses the Schomburg center, one of the largest black history archives in the region.
And I don’t know if I should be ashamed that although I have lived in the area for a number of years, I’ve only been inside the Apollo theatre once, and never for the world-famous amateur night.

I’m a nature person but I found out that the spring flowers are starting to open in Central Park because I was showing my friend around. And I found some of the most beautiful dedications on the benches in the park.
Sometimes, if you are not pointing out the sites, you can overlook the most beautiful things in the city.
So thank you, Patrice for allowing me to show you my city because it allowed me to see it again with fresh eyes. And it reminded me of why I love this city.
New York is an awesome place to visit. It’s easy to get jaded by the unmentionables but it’s also easy to take a step back and fall in love all over again.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Mary-The Boondocks Blog says:

    Good morning Karen. I went through a similar experience when I came back to New York to visit. I had all the time in the world to stop and stare at all the beauty around the streets. I have to say there were no flowers in the streets when I was living there 20 years ago. We New Yorkers (oh, and I believe I’ll always be one at heart) have a stride that we hit once we’re on the pavement and I guess that is why we love the city… charge forth!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tara says:

    It was fun! I am looking forward to doing it all again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So fun getting to take your friend and show the sights! When I visited NYC I was alone the first week, but loved that the locals are so nice. I would say, point me in the right direction for the best Pizza or Cheesecake and they always did, LOL Playing tourist there is so fun, I imagine you guys had a great time! I had such a great NYC Marathon trip when I visited there, one of these days I hope to make it back, I loved it all. Though Brooklyn may have been my favorite:)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cynthia says:

    Karen, I must say that I enjoyed your love letter about New York. You see, I was born and raised here. Thank you for pointing out the loveliness of this city. There are so many places to experience and activities to enrich our lives here in New York City. I am inspired to not only observe the big flashiness of the city, but to also note the otherwise overlooked wonders of this city. Who knew a Jamaican could open the eyes of a native New Yorker. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Run Wright says:

      Ah, I love your comment Cynthia. Thank you.
      NYC has really become a new home for me and I am proud to share what I love. The city offers a different experience to all who visit and/or live here so everyone’s perspective is potentially different but hopefully all good.

      Like

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