Today’s the day I decided to call New York my home. The reason for this was so unexpected and unconventional that it probably won’t make sense tomorrow. But, who cares about tomorrow, right?
All Men’s Land
I was at Columbus circle next to Trump tower preparing to take a picture from the plaza through the globe statue to the skyscrapers on 5th Ave. How many pictures like this one have you seen already? Hundreds? Thousands? So, I was going to be one of those tourists taking exactly the same photo because this is what tourists do, right? But, at that moment, I heard loud music and I turned around to see a guy standing right next to me listening to a Lady Gaga song on speakers. It took me a while to notice that the guy had two rats on his right shoulder; one was blue and the other pink. Both animals were completely calm and domesticated as they stood on his shoulder and played happily with their tales as he fed them popcorn.
Two steps away from that scene, an amazing woman was just standing there waiting for a limo to come pick her up. She was dressed in an evening black gown, “haute couture” collection (obviously), with crystals all over it. She was also wearing the perfect shoes matching her magnificent formal dress. Her makeup and hair were impeccable. So, she probably just came out of a Trump Tower cocktail party.
These two shared a common space like it was the most normal and natural thing to do. However, I can reassure you if this scenery was not developing in NYC it would: A. never happen or B. a clash of two worlds. Both of these people are citizens in the most colorful and unique city in the world. And, they are both welcomed as part of it in a different way. This is when it hit me- I belong to this place as they do, too. New York is the city where anybody can find his/her place and make it work. What makes these two extravagant people similar is that they are both New Yorkers. They are both essential parts of the city, they fit equally well, and make New York what it actually is- a home.
New York: The Concrete Jungle
Alicia Keys calls NYC a “concrete jungle” in her song, “Empire State of MInd“. Jungles are the richest ecosystems on the planet. This is where flora and fauna blend perfectly in a mix of extraordinary creatures and vegetation. As defined by Western literature, any jungle can represent a less civilized or unruly space outside the control of civilization (European civilization). But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t function by its own set of rules. It simply means that the New York jungle is the perfect mixture of different people, cultures, and beliefs.
One may say that New York is highly influenced by the European legacy and it is in the best possible way; not at all based on conservative traditions or old social perception of morals or life. New York does have a sense of Europe but in a new way. A walk through Downtown Manhattan uncovers city views that bring memories of Amsterdam and the old European architecture. Small bistros with tables on the street feel like Paris. Boutiques and craft shops resemble the ones on Vienna Ringstrasse. All this European beauty is not heavily shaded but elegantly complemented by the majestic silhouette of the World Trade Center in the distance. And, it all blends together; architecture, people, atmosphere are so different but yet the perfect mix.
The City is already the home of more than eight million people, and the count keeps growing. It’s filled with such a rich variety of nationalities, cultures, languages, and races. This is why New York is like a real-life Neverland. It embraces differences and transforms them into charming particularities which in turn make NYC as great as it is. The people I see every day inspire me. They make me think about who am I, where am I, and why which made me realize that I am a very lucky person. I found what many people never find- a home. New York and its inhabitants made me feel this way.
I’m at home now.
“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”