Am I Over-Romanticizing NYC?

The pure adrenaline that comes with living in one of the world's liveliest cities is an obvious desire, especially amongst young people. Why does it feel like everybody wants to live in New York City? It could be because, in NYC, you don’t feel lonely even when you’re alone. It could be because the buildings and brightest billboards that are constantly within your field of vision feel like a smaller world within itself. 

In many ways, it feels like New York City is the place to be. But is this conclusion warranted, or is everything we see in NYC just one big hype? 

I’ve only visited New York once, during my freshman year of college, and it wasn’t just everything I hoped for. It seemed like everything that I didn’t even know I could hope for and want, all until walking around the plethora of personalities in New York. I knew that these feelings of fleeting adrenaline and triumph were things that I wanted. 

But I always wondered if that feeling was just temporary. I was only in NYC for one week. Would these feelings persist if I lived there? 

It feels like the answer to this question is very much split. I find that there are as many people in love with NYC as much as there are people who regret romanticizing it. 

I can’t tell you whether NYC lives up to its hype or not. That’s for each and every one of us to decide on our own. You might hate the crowd in NYC, but someone else will love it, maybe even finding a sense of community and solace in it.  

But why does NYC have so much hype? Maybe it’s the ‘90s romcoms set in Greenwich Village that make us feel all fuzzy and warm inside. Or, perhaps it’s the influencers on Instagram whose feeds consists of them walking down the neon-lit avenue amongst New York City nightlife in Fashion Week-esque wardrobe. It could be because being a part of that everyday rush and the millions of people running to their daydreams makes you feel like you can be efficacious at doing the same. 

To people who dream of living there, including me, it represents the nature of ambition, that chasing what you want is never-ending. I never want to stop looking for what to do next, whether it comes to my career or personal life, and if my impression of the city remains true, NYC’s energy personifies and further exudes that. 

Of course, there are probably many cities around the world that can do the same. But I guess with New York, we know the archetypes that meander free within the avenues and feeling like we fit within them adds a certain type of charisma and magnetism. 

Maybe I have changed, or maybe I will change, and this city won’t be the one for me. To keep sane, I’ll tell myself that this isn’t true and keep anticipating that day that I can call Greenwich Village my home and live out my ‘90s romcom reveries. 

I can’t even imagine not liking anything about a city like New York City. So, I just won’t. 

And until then, I’ll have my fingers crossed that someday I can be lucky enough to live in New York City. And then I’ll keep my fingers crossed hoping that my impression of the city and my expectations of what it can give me remain the same. For now, I’ll find new ways to romanticize this city and keep my hopes for the future afloat amongst them. 

After all, life is about swooning over everything that you think you could have, and for me, New York City is one of them.