You need to get used to the Big Apple. The five boroughs city hooks you slowly, unknowingly.
New York. The city that never sleeps. The land of opportunites. Earlier named New Amsterdam, but ‘New York’ is way cooler. Thank god the English took over the city otherwise I’d be tiring myself saying, “I’ve moved to New Am-s-ter-dam.” New YORK is my new home now. The city with the most diverse culture, there are just too many people to even care for one another. A place where even if you wore a mismatched pair of sneakers nobody would judge you on that. Everybody is soaked in their daily lives. Everybody is always in a hurry; to be at work on time, to catch the next train that arrives in exactly two minutes, to drop their children to school, to watch the previews of the upcoming movies before your movie starts, to be the lucky ones to get the best discounts at Macy’s during heavy discount days. People have gotten so used to always being on the move that even when they can relax their muscles a little while returning home, it seems their legs automatically speeds to be home. Just can’t waste a single second.
So far except for being a spectator, I haven’t really gotten the taste of being a part of all the frenzy. My concern is I don’t know how I will cope with it. For one, I come from a very laid back city. Nepali Stretchable Time, Zindabad! For another, I myself am not much of a punctual person. Nothing to be proud of, but this is how it has been for the last two decades or so. Like they say, “While in Rome, do as the Romans do,” and ‘In New York, I will be on time just like a New Yorker would.’
Since day one, New York has been a home away from home for me. Thanks to all the good old friends and family that I have here, I haven’t really felt a hint of being in a foreign land. I met my school friends after many years of not being in each other’s sight besides seeing them on Facebook. We dedicated a handsome amount of time to reminisce on the old days and to catch up on one another’s lives. And I reunited with my family members after decades. Seeing my little baby brother stand tall and turn into a handsome teenager was indeed a joyous moment and to be introduced to the new members in the family- my cute little nieces and see them jumping around Connecticut’s friendly neighborhood in their pink outfits and gleaming at me from behind the door made me revive my childhood days. If it wasn’t for all these beautiful people I know I wouldn’t be connecting to this place instantly like I did because so far, my stay here hasn’t really been about the place. Shockingly, New York really didn’t live up to my expectations. I was appalled by the conditions of the subway stations, wasn’t really blown away by Times Square and some of the stores were a disappointment. The tall buildings and the tinted glasses don’t please my eyes. They don’t talk to me and I don’t bother to strike a conversation. A friend and I firmly agreed to each other’s thoughts, ‘Sometimes it’s not the place or the time, it’s the people around you that really makes life worthwhile, their presence makes all the difference no matter where/how you are.’
Manhattan – Union Square, Soho, 5th Avenue
Walking between the mute concreteness, I shared a telepathic relationship with the streets of Manhattan. Manhattan is the only place I’ve actually liked. For me, Manhattan is New York. The places tickle you to be a part of it, the carefreeness is relaxing, the ignorance is bliss, covering many blocks on foot in the hope of finding a nice fashion store is endearing, and expecting to see a celebrity running errands is unavoidable. It all started on my second day in the city and my first at Manhattan after I saw Katie Holmes riding a bike at Soho while I was going to a Chanel boutique to get a bottle of perfume. Manhattan is energetic and powerful. It has that magnetic force that pulls you to be a part of it. Anybody can fall into its bait and I’m one. Everybody here has their own style and everybody explores their identity vehemently. You won’t find a drove of people strutting in a similar ensemble. Nobody waits to be vindicated of their fashion.
It’s a delight to be at Union Square. Many times, this has been the spot for me to meet up with friends and we’d go elsewhere after that. What I love to do when at this intersection is… simply nothing. It’s just an intersection and there’s not much you can do besides sit in the park and meet people. People just like to relax and chill when they’re here and I like to do the same. I will grab a Frappé, sit on one of the stairs and just relax and talk with a friend. All of this under two conditions; the sun is shining and the wind is not blowing too hard. The weather in the city is very unpredictable and the wind is so strong it moves you, literally. When you are walking in the same direction as the wind that’s when you are not actually walking, you’re being pushed by it, swaying along.
Next month, I will have to pave my way on how I’d want my stay to start as a New Yorker and how I want to live my new life. It is exciting and challenging at the same time. It helps that I get excited about challenges, this way I’ve at least achieved one goal.