“It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.” This line of E.B. White’s essay, “Here is New York,” accurately sums up my feelings about New York. New York’s middle name is Opportunity and many of us migrate to this cultural hub to fulfill a variety of desires. We see, time and again, people from all corners of the world, swarm Manhattan with their ambitions—some come out victorious and others scurry away, defeated.
I hate New York. I hate the rats that squeal in the garbage bins outside my apartment building; summer in New York is what I imagine Hell to be like; I hate “IT’S SHOW TIME!” on the subways; I hate that, albeit the fact that millions of people inhabit this city, it is easy to meet loneliness along the way.
But I also love New York. I love that I can buy a $1 pizza at 3 a.m.; I love how spoiled we are with a 24/7 subway system— another excuse not to get my license; I love that my waiter turns out to be a world famous graffiti artist; and I love that I can escape from one neighborhood to the next and feel like I’m in a different world. But most importantly, I love feeling a sense of belonging.
At 13 years old, I was mortified to leave my quaint Virginia town to move to New York. Being my fifth move in six years, I didn’t want to leave everything behind—again—and start over. Looking back at my journal entries now, I laugh at my younger self. But I was just afraid—who isn’t, when they’re moving to NEW YORK? It welcomed me with open arms and said, “Come, I’ve got you.” New York has helped to mold me into the person that I am. It gave me an identity. And if it hadn’t been for New York, who would I be today? Nobody. New York is alive, New York is ever changing, New York is me, and I will love nothing nor anybody as much as I’ve loved New York.