FROM HALF A YEAR IN NYC

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“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.”–Nora Ephron

 

When you come to New York City, you come because you are running away from something. You don’t come here to take a casual stroll, or move here on your tippy-toes, or eat the mantra ‘take one day at a time’ for breakfast.

No.

You come catapulted as If you were just ejected from a high-speed treadmill, and land somewhere on the corner of 59th and 7th ave in between honking cabs and photo snapping tourists.

You don’t move here because everything in your life is going smoothly somewhere else or because you so desperately want to be someone.

We all do.

You move here because you want to swing dance with the art of survival. That’s the one thing all of us roaming around here have in common, we are just trying to survive. And it’s not easy. The guy wearing the double-breasted suit talking wall street jargon is in the same boat as the homeless man and the dog begging for some spare change, who is the same as the girl flirting with an unknown career path, the boy who works two jobs just to get coffee for strangers at his unpaid internship.

You move here to speed walk, past the googly eyed tourists snapping photos of street corner trash and through curving taxi cabs threatening to run over the broken down bottoms of your soles.

If you dare to close your eyes here, even for  just a second, you’ll be tossed into the East River, left to buy a one way ticket back to that small town the size of the West Village.

6 Things I Never Realized Before Living in NYC (via my photos):

1. The most talented people in the world can be found performing for spare change inside of the subway.

2. The most salivating food is on the street corners and will cost you under 5 bucks.

3. Here, you don’t need a gym membership for buns of steel. Just try exiting the subway.

4. Times Square is the worst place on this earth.

5. Directions. My north, my south, my east and my west.

6. The buildings are a constant reminder of why you are here, challenging you to make it to the top.

 

I’m In the smack down middle of performing my Friday post-work ritual of double fisting two slices of 75 cent pizza, when a blonde haired, collard pastel shirt fanny pack wearing family sits  down beside me. The kind of family with matching crew cuts, who decorate things with ribbon and wrap their actions in manners, a please and a thank you. The kind you would paint a watercolor portrait off.

The dad smears the grease off his pizza with a perfectly folded napkin and says to his daughter, “I don’t see you moving here. New York is just not the place for you.”

The daughter chomps down hard on her pizza, and rolls her eyes around the potential of what could be.

I lick the pizza sauce off the sides of my mouth before I turn to her and whisper, “You’ll do just fine here, as long as you always keep you’re eyes open.”

New york, I love you, please don’t change a thing (except for making the subway platforms air conditioned, rent a little cheaper and the Lower East Side a little easier to navigate). 

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I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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