New York City.
A city. A life style. A dream, a cell.
Some people visit New York City and fall in love. Some people never do and never will. There’s so much in this city that it appears to have completely opposite impressions on people. As a person who was born and raised in a big city, I would definitely hold some bias, but everyone has their interpretation of the city, and the city will stay just the same as the way it always is.
New York City is a big city with small things. Although the skyscrapers seem to reach the sky, the streets are so narrow that no sunlight could reach there. The apartments have sky-high prices but with such limited space. The seats in restaurants are so small that sometimes I have to squeeze myself in. The sidewalks are narrow too, comparing to the large flow of people, and I always keep bumping into people in midtown. It can certainly be depressing with all the skyscrapers and all the fast-walking pedestrians, but just because there are so many people squeezed into such a small place, stories happen. Lives happen.
A stereotype of New Yorkers is that they are rude. In fact, they are the nicest city people as compared to all the people I met in other big cities. Because it is a city, it is almost assumed that you do not need to care much about other people’s lives. But when you do, it would be the most warm-hearted thing to do. The waiter in the restaurant told me his favorite dish on the menu and asked me if I liked it, too. He told me that he has worked there for three years now. The Russian lady who sells jewelry at a market told me that her best client was also a Chinese girl, and she would always buy rings from her. The Moroccan college girl in the apartment told me all about the nightlife here and how people got used to rats on the streets. I know that these are nothing comparing to the intimate relationships you would develop in a small town, but these random talks with one of the hundreds of thousand strangers always reach deep into my heart and warm it a bit.
Just as people care for strangers, people also have the choice of completely ignoring strangers. It is a city. People care about their own business. Just as everyone has their daily satisfactions, everyone also has their trouble in life, and no one has to know about anything that you don’t want them to know. If you are into personal connections, people in the city are going to give you this connection and embrace you into the circle. But if you just want to be you or be left alone, the city gives you that space as well. I guess it’s this flexibility that I love. I don’t feel the pressure to please other people or to act in a certain way in order to be accepted by anyone. And there’s always someone out there that is just as unique as you are.
Of course, people have different life styles that they prefer. But maybe, you should go see what a city life style is first by yourself. Not for just one day, or three days, not even a week— it has to be longer. Living in a city is a feeling that shows its real self as each day proceeds.
Photo sources: taken by Maggie Zhang