When you first get here, every place that you visit will become your favorite. You’ll rave to all of your friends back home about the first nightclub that you and your New York City friends managed to get into. You’ll feel an instantaneous kind of nostalgia at the end of a night spent at your first rooftop bar, or after your first time walking the Highline. Doing anything for the first time has a certain thrill to it, especially here, and you should revel in this feeling whenever possible. One day, you will look back on your first week here be able to forget the terror that you felt while navigating the subway system, replacing it with the satisfaction that swept over you after making it back to your apartment for the first time, all by yourself, after a night of heavy drinking.
Eventually, you’ll frequent most of those first places less and less, trading them in for the new spots that you discover — places that really appeal to you. You’ll arrive at the other side of this experience; you will feel like a seasoned New Yorker, knowing all of the go-to spots that culminate the ultimate New York City experience, the places that lend themselves to an epic New York City summer.
That first time you fall in love with someone in New York City, you won’t hold back. You’ll be reckless about the places you share with them, the subway platforms you kiss on, the streets that you stroll down together, hand-in-hand. You’ll insist on getting drinks at The Frying Pan, challenge them to a game of life-sized chess at the South Street Seaport beer garden. You won’t know the mistake you’ve made until after things have ended, and those same streets and subways start to haunt you. Those spots, your spots, the ones that you so willingly shared with that first person you loved in this city, are now poisoned. Your commute will turn into a mission to avoid all of the places you’d been together. It’s a daunting task that will feel impossible the first time you try it. It will get easier. Then one day, you can’t seem remember why you were avoiding that particular subway entrance or street corner in the first place. You resolve to make new memories at all of your favorite places. It’s hard at first, but after a few visits, these places start to feel like they belong to you again, for the most part.
You vow not to be as careless the next time around. This time, you’ll try to keep this city all to yourself. During a conversation with your latest potential love interest, this becomes harder than you thought it would be. You initially let these locations slip, and then dumb them down in an effort to make them seem not that great. You try not to notice what street you’re on while you’re walking with them, or the name of the bar you end up at the first time you kiss. You pull away from a kiss at the Union Square subway station once you realize that you’re potentially contaminating that space. You use that subway station far too often to allow this moment to affect you if this thing ever works out, and then doesn’t.
It’s only now that you’re starting to understand that trying to avoid this kind of hurt again is probably a lost cause. You might have to accept that there will always be a part of this city that reminds you of a time in your life when you were absolutely, out-of-your-mind crazy about someone you no longer know. You’ll try to accept this as a small price to pay for living in what you believe to be the greatest city there is. And maybe it really is.