“I love New York but I could never live there.”
It’s a phrase I’ve heard endlessly since I mentioned I was considering moving to the city post-grad. Along with it come the downsides of the tiny apartments, crowded streets and rude people. I completely understand that certain cities are more suited to certain people. Maybe you could never live in Los Angeles because you hate the beach, or humidity is your worst nightmare so South Louisiana is out. That’s not what I’m talking about here.
The idea here is that I’ve found the majority of people with concern for my possible move to NYC have either a) never been themselves, but watch “How I Met Your Mother” religiously or b) have only visited for a weekend or two, checking off the typical tourist attractions and leaving exhausted.
Looking back, I think I have it figured out. I lived and worked in the city this past summer and loved every minute of it. I was settled; Seamless, a food delivery app, delivered most of my meals and I never spent over $15 on dinner, I found a church and a group to attend with, my favorite cafe prepared an iced coffee for me every morning and I made friends with the owner, I went on runs around my block and didn’t ride the subway more than twice a day. It felt like a normal, regular life to me.
I saw the flipside when I visited for only a week over spring break. I took one of my roommates who had never been, with plans to scout out apartments and show her the sights. We saw the city from the Top of the Rock, went to a screening of “Live with Kelly and Michael,” spent way too much time and money in Times Square, waited an hour for a table at Serendipity, and rode the train more hours than we didn’t. This trip was just as hurried and exhausting as I imagine people who have only ever visited see New York to be. So I get it.
The way I see it, living in New York is a vastly different experience than visiting New York. All the things you may hate about the city when you visit become either obsolete or oddly positive when you live there. You find yourself actively avoiding Times Square or any other place that charges tourists $30 a meal to see singing waiters. The rude people hurrying to their job seem important, inspired to change the world and therefore they have reason to hurry.
Making a home in the city is just like making a home anywhere else: it’s all about attitude. To me, New York City will always be filled with excitement and inspiration, a constant buzz of promises. See the other side of the city and maybe you’ll agree.
Ashlyn Thompson is a senior journalism major from Ruston, La. She is a reporter for the Lariat.