Why Writers Love New York City
LaVonne Roberts discusses what inspired her love of New York City.
There is a phenomenon many of us seem to get swept up in: feeling that our relationship to the city is as alive and intimate as that of fiery, fateful lovers. What is it about New York that compels us to believe the city is a human entity unto itself: one capable of offering earth-shattering sex, endlessly stimulating conversation, and eventual transcendence, too?
Falling in love with New York City is like your first love affair. It sets the bar for expectations for the rest of your life. And even when love doesn’t work out, the city is still there. NYC feels like an engine powering the world, and I feel like a gear in the engine. Living anywhere else makes me feel like a passenger. I’m surrounded by some of the most successful, and driven people in the world. Most people sacrificed a lot to get here and they make the concerted choice to stay every day. You can feel the collective ambitions of people living in the city. Everyone moves to NYC with a dream or driven by ambition, so there’s a buzz of energy at all times and that’s what becomes its unique energy. Manhattanites tend to have a love-hate relationship with the city until an outsider makes a negative comment. Then there’s a ferocious loyalty to a city where you can find everything you need in a one-mile radius, even if the cost of living there often feels beyond your means.
When you’re away from New York, what are the details — whether they’re a place, a smell, a season, a particular kind of night sky — that transport you to a place of nostalgia?
New York is about seasons on a grand scale — walking down Park Ave. on that first April day when the tulips open. Spring smells like flowers, pollen, fresh air and sunlight that warms up every patch of green in Central Park when picnics on blankets canvas the slopes. It’s that frenzy before a snowstorm and the quiet morning after when the streets are almost silent, save the plows coming through when it feels like the whole city slept in. It’s about knowing that Thanksgiving Day at about two, after the parade when most people are eating or away from the city, is the quietest day in Manhattan when you can walk past every famous department store’s Christmas windows (most installed the night before) and take it in…