Thank you, New York.

You’re a special place.


For not being anything like the New York I thought I’d find from watching Sex and the City.

For a $12 manicure on almost every block, especially from Sumi at QQ on W. 4th who knows the exact half-moon shape I like.

For the extra 30 seconds saved by figuring out which subway car opens right by the stairs.

For game nights and Mexican nights and impromptu Whitney + Luther + Chaka nights. For a crew that will forever hold me down.

For letting me keep Coop and Syd for four more years.

For Dayna and Tyler and a group text where even the most mundane absurdities of life can be reimagined through gifs and shade and emojis. For the type of uncompromising realness you only get from two women who just understand the fuck out of you, full stop.

For Jason, Rem, B. Sharp and Aaron, the kind of genuine, rid-or-die guy friends that every girl needs.

For my Northwestern ladies: beautiful, smart and militant in the best way.

For a family that formed spontaneously but will endure for a lifetime. For game nights and Mexican nights and impromptu Whitney + Luther + Chaka nights. For preserving the kiki in 3 hour discussions on our collective histories, futures, and all the uncertain stuff that comes in between. For our ability to laugh until our ribs ache, argue with blind passion, love each other with our whole hearts. For the chance to see my blackness in technicolor, filtered through this inspiring group of people who have only begun to scratch the surface of world domination. For a crew that will forever hold me down.

For exes that declare their love in dimly lit bars, lulled into confession by that soft, quiet energy of possibility you radiate on a perfectly snowy January night.

For cooperating with a sometimes gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan/pescatarian/fill-in-the-fad diet.

For the perfect slice of pizza at 3AM because bread and cheese is always the right answer.

For exes that declare their love in dimly lit bars, lulled into confession by that soft, quiet energy of possibility you radiate on a perfectly snowy January night.

For the strength to keep moving forward without looking back, in spite of those declarations.

For the women: black, brown, yellow, alabaster, all different shapes and sizes and histories, all bad-ass, confident and in-control.

For the women: black, brown, yellow, alabaster, all different shapes and sizes and histories, all bad-ass, confident and in-control. For the fros, braids and half-shaved heads, the pixie cuts and weaves and perfect golden highlights, for an ever-evolving lesson on how infinite beautiful can actually be. For the way we mold and contour this city to our liking, wielding our independence without an ounce of regret. For girl power, accessorized with a killer red lip.

For the way you can dismantle, meticulously pulling away at all of our seams until we are broken down and unraveled, dispassionate and disillusioned, cynicism personified.

For the way you can pull us up, dust us off and make us believe that life goes on, all in the next breath.

For being wide enough to accommodate the dreams of whoever passes through your gates, from the quiet ones whispered at night in hushed tones across the pillow, to the reckless ones, declared with persistent and determined ferocity, all the way to the ones not spoken at all, but clung to silently and desperately like an invisible life preserve. For the pragmatism to know that none of them are easy, but the audacity to believe that all of them are within reach.

For Frank at Terminal 5, Beyoncé at Roseland, Alice at Williamsburg Music Hall, Kanye at MSG and Erykah at Radio City.

For teaching me how to talk my way out of anything and into anywhere.

For Frank at Terminal 5, Beyoncé at Roseland, Alice at Williamsburg Music Hall, Kanye at MSG and Erykah at Radio City.

For being one giant contradiction — grit and privilege, intellectualism and superficiality, keeping it real while barely scratching the surface — all at the same time. For wearing your hypocrisy proudly like a badge of only-in-New-York honor.

For a sister in Bed-Stuy who will schlep to Williamsburg to bring you a Pies & Thighs chicken biscuit for your last New York meal.

For a sister in Bed-Stuy who will schlep to Williamsburg to bring you a Pies & Thighs chicken biscuit for your last New York meal.

For Nat and Kaki, Kate and DB, Lauren and Patrick, Allen and Ray. For high-stakes games of Trivial Pursuit and feasts prepared in a communion of love. For marriages and newborns and new jobs that take us to opposite sides of the country, but fill an already full life with even more bounty. For Sibling Sundays, In Memoriam.

For sunset pickup games at W. 4th with Ash and Les. For slowly limping back into the game I love in the city that knows it best, one crooked jump shot at a time.

For laughing off boy drama with E. that one muggy summer night at Pianos. For Oprah sessions at Tacombi with tacos and too many margaritas. For trying to kick our Grey’s addiction and failing, miserably.

For that one black cab driver who stops after the last five empty taxis sped past, uninterested.

For a chance to know Brooklyn when it was still warm, unexpected and only partly gentrified.

For that one black cab driver who stops after the last five empty taxis sped past, uninterested.

For Grace Church and its tranquility amidst the disquiet of the daily grind.

For a reckless year at 22 trying to cure insecurity and self-doubt with liquor, revelry and doomed relationships, searching at breakneck speed for the one fix that might fill that widening chasm for good.

For the grace at 25 to accept that chasms will always exist, and the wisdom to understand that they’re meant to be filled slowly with patience, purpose and things that actually stick.

For your insatiable need to be tomorrow’s next thing, yesterday.

For your constant state of evolution: that new hot restaurant or it-girl or “up-and-coming” neighborhood. For your hyperactive, manic rate of change that prevents you from sitting still with yourself for one second too long. For your insatiable need to be tomorrow’s next thing, yesterday.

For those things that will always be the same: the perennially delayed C train, the wry misanthropy, the underachieving Knicks, the unassailable spirit through terrorist attacks and hurricanes and whatever else is thrown at you. For believing that you really are the center of the universe and forcing everywhere else to fall into orbit around you.

For not caring about the people who left, only the ones who stayed.

For being the type of place that people feel the need to justify leaving in essays, manifestos, diatribes and sometimes even thank-you notes. For swallowing and subsuming all of those justifications without even a cursory glance. For not caring about the people who left, only the ones who stayed.

For leaving me just as impressed, maligned, enchanted and unsure of you at the end as I was at the beginning.

THANK YOU.

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