New York draws people in. There are the people who love it so intensely that if they were born here, they will never leave, and if they weren’t—well, they get here as soon as they can and pretend they’ve always been here.
Then there are the people who hate it here. They come and leave as soon as they can, or they never come and just know they’d hate it if they did. But it pulls them in, too, since they have such a strong opinion about it. No one who’s never been there has much of an opinion about Buffalo, or probably even Chicago. But people have opinions about New York.
There are the people who love to visit but could never live here.
And then there are people like me.
Or at least, I assume in this massive city that there are others who feel the way I do about New York.
I live here because my job is here, and there aren’t many cities where my industry exists. I love parts of New York—the museums that I don’t go to enough, the cheap theater tickets that I’d love to buy more of but probably shouldn’t, the fact that it’s okay that I still don’t have a driver’s license.
I don’t love that it takes forever to go just a few miles, that rents are so high, that seeing people outside work takes so much planning and money. Most especially I don’t like the fact that every time I stay home and watch Netflix I feel like a failure, like I’ve neglected the New Yorker duty of taking advantage of everything that’s here.
But New York draws people in—literally, because eventually every friend I’ve ever made will pass through and many of them will crash on my spare bed.
And while at the end of their visits I may be well and ready to turn on the TV and do nothing, while they’re here I see New York through the eyes of those who don’t have months or years to be here but only a few snatched days at a time. And with them I pick out the places that last, for me, the ones that make me realize that even if I don’t love New York with a violent, outward passion, it has made itself home all the same.