I’ll be the first to say I haven’t gotten to visit too many places. I’m fascinated by the cultures, languages, and religions of other countries. Of the few places I have been, New York City is my absolute favorite. Now, let me explain why.
New York is, in every sense of the word, the melting pot. It is the place where culture and tradition meet modernity and universalism. While it is located in America, there are so many different ethnicities and personalities in coexistence that it seems ridiculous to call it America. It is unique, not representative. On a small island and the surrounding areas, people from all over the world and speaking all kinds of languages interact, learn together, work together, eat together, and honk their car horns at each other. Its beautiful.
New York is a tragic beauty. In some places, it is clean and upscale. In others, trash and dirt dominate the landscape. A fashion model rides the same subway train as the homeless man. And because, despite the greatly planned out grid system, the order, there is bursting personality. I’ll use one of my favorite examples.
The grid system is just a great idea. It creates an order and makes directions so much easier. But there are certain times when the grid system finds itself corrupted, because of history and people. Doyers St, in the heart of Chinatown, is short and full of tiny shops. It also has a large bend in the middle - a unique characteristic.
It is the home of art, music, science, food, and even laughter. All of the things you could ever need, even want, are within a few minutes walk or ride on the train. Most places are open late, and anything you are interested in you can find a group of people to share it with. New York embraces all sorts.
One of the great things about the city is that it is a collective made of individuals. Yes, there are a lot of people who reside in New York. But each one of these people are wonderfully and gorgeously different - a fact that also makes them the same. The city is like the ultimate un-labelable. It is the world encapsulated in a small radius, but its also even better than that.
While some terrible things happen in New York, there is an incredible amount of things that surpass this. For instance, people are making food everywhere. Everywhere you turn, you can find some delicious food made by a master of their craft - someone who will smile wholeheartedly when you deservedly compliment them. As humans, we love food, and we love to share it with other people. It’s a powerful unifying agent. I have no Asian background that I know of, but I can talk about Chicken Rama with a Thai person and instantly we have something in common. Instantly, we’re friends.
As well as food, music and art reigns supreme. Throughout the city you can find all sorts of people playing all sorts of genres. New instruments and new rhythms fill the air, and there is so much to learn. From the symphony to the beatboxers in the 14th St Station, the sounds of New York bellow shamelessly. These beautiful sounds are heard in over 800 languages - 49 percent of New Yorkers speak a second language, at least. There are hundreds of museums with amazing art by beloved artists, but there are also artists on street corners throughout the city.
Theres a wonderful thing about the fact that such a small place can offer a welcoming home to both modernity and innovation but also to tradition and the classic. The very history of our country is rooted in New York, the place where so many started their American journey.. but it is hardly definitive of the typical American town. The all encompassing and embracing nature is what motions me towards one of the only places in the world that is alive twenty four hours a day, all year long.
You can make just about any dream come true in New York. That thought alone is freeing. You are but one small drop in an enormous ocean, but you are the ocean nonetheless. As does each drop when it joins with the ocean, we join together and you can no longer distinguish that one drop. That one drop became everything.