Since meeting you, I am bolder, less sensitive, and more like myself. You absolutely enchant me. I’ve never encountered such a dynamic and robust city, a living, breathing creature that thrives on success and hungrily devours insecurity. I think I’ve finally met my match.
My New York does not settle for mediocrity. You challenge me every day. At least once or twice a week, you slap me hard in the face and say, “Sweetie, if you want this, you’re going to have to do better than that.” That’s why I love you. You don’t let me be lazy. You don’t let me just get by. Yet instead of making me feel inadequate, you have boosted my confidence. You empower me, you excite me, and you exhaust me. And I love every second of it.
My New York is not a scene from Sex and the City. And as much as I wish I could be, I’m not Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It’s not like the movies; it is much, much harder. But it is my own, and it is fucking magical.
New York, I hate to break it to you, but you were not my first love. Paris will always occupy that spot. You were not even my second love. A certain young man in Florida will always have that place in my heart. But I would not mind it one bit if you were my last. Yes, you smell like hot garbage in the summer, but you also sometimes smell like fresh bagels, so I forgive you. Yes, you blessed me with cockroaches in my kitchen, air-conditioner drippings in my eye, and the spit of a homeless man on my taxi window. You froze me close to death in the winter, and in the summer you roasted me in a hot subway car. But I forgive you for all of this, and I always will. Because you have also blessed me with some beautifully amazing friends, cherry blossoms at the start of spring, The Lion King on Broadway, artichoke pizza, the Guggenheim, public parks that I can actually use, drunk brunch, and the best godddamned bagels I have ever eaten.
Many people have come to me in this past year seeking advice about moving to the city. I find that most of them are looking for me to give them an excuse not to come. They almost want me to say, “It’s too hectic, it’s too cold, it’s too lonely.” And you know what? Sometimes I do say that. Because if you are looking for validation or reassurance about your decision to move here, then don’t come. You should only move to New York because you know you won’t feel whole if you live anywhere else. Move here because you are terrified and because you crave adventure with every inch of your soul. Don’t move here for love, money, or to escape your past. Move here to become the best version of yourself, the version you were always meant to be.
I am a lucky girl; I know this. But I owe much of my happiness to you, New York. Thank you for embracing me. Thank you for allowing me to call you home. And thank you for making me a New Yorker.
Love always, Giana