Too Good To Be True: Why New York City Is Just A State Of Mind


As you drive through the Lincoln Tunnel, you can smell the city's smog. The abundance of pedestrians crossing the street in Midtown makes you realize the faces are all the same to you.

When you reach the end, you think you've finally made it. The street vendors call your name and the lights that run down Broadway blind you with what seems like beautifully illuminated fixtures. But, perhaps, these are the bad traits of the city, and we just don't know it yet.

The first time going, everyone has you convinced New York City is the most glamorous city in the world. How can you argue with that? The world's best writers, painters and musicians live in this city of dreams, one you'd like to accomplish something in yourself.

As with every big city, there's the good and the bad. However, in a place like New York, the greatness of this place seems to override the ugly lying behind the glitz and glamour of it all.

As you walk down Fifth Avenue, you imagine yourself bumping into Leighton Meester on your way to get some coffee. But, what's the chance of meeting anyone famous in a crowded stampede of people walking faster than they need to?

Forget celebrities. How about meeting anyone for that matter? You better plan to catch up with an old friend away from the people who continue to pour in from who-knows-where, or you'll never find a way to do some decent communicating in this city.

If you're not rich, prepare to feel more broke than ever. You'll be in the biggest social shock of your life after realizing that run-of-the-mill apartment building in Northeast Brooklyn you saw on Kijiji (think: Craigslist) is worth more a month than your college debt altogether.

Wait until you stop being a tourist. What happens if you get over this mess of a city and you indulge every waking moment of your free time in this far off place -- one you thought would surely live up to your expectations by now.

When you become familiar with the city, you're a regular at your favorite Starbucks on 41st Street and you no longer feel the pigeons in Central Park staring at the back of your head each Sunday afternoon, you're going to notice the people who used to be just like you: the tourists.

The only thing more annoying than the tourists are probably the ones who need their own separate category of specification; they don't tour, they stare and they sit and they embrace everything that even seemed a little insignificant to you when you first arrived.

Maybe you thought you'd be discovered. Maybe you thought you'd find love, life or happiness in this city of unknown mysteries and adventures you expected to soon be apart of.

New York is glamorous. But, what if this becomes overbearing and you've finally decided you can't have too much of a good thing? Because, perhaps, that's what New York City is made of -- the best of the best, at an overwhelming extent.

So, yes, New York City is a state of mind. You've got it drilled in your head that nothing could go wrong in the best city in the world, and so does everyone else.

Of course, you can still believe it's the most wonderful place on earth, which might be something undeniable in itself.

Because you'll never be able to visit New York once and never come back. The city will always call your name, and no skyscraper in any town soon afterward will ever compare to the ones that towered over you, casting long grey shadows above, reminding you that you'd be safe in the streets that run through them.

You'll miss the hot dog vendors, the taxis and the cafés that run from one end of the city to the other. You'll miss the sounds of news vans and cars and people and lights, and the twinkle in Lady Liberty's eye as you pass her on your way to Staten Island.

Regardless, New York might be great from afar. It's something to look up to, and helps you aspire to become like anyone who's ever been made into anything here.

But, to be sucked into other people's visions of the city, and to make you embrace what you might not even believe in, is highly ridiculous and unrealistic on so many levels.

Remember what New York City taught you and how much bigger you'll be willing to open your eyes next time you're around something many people have never seen before, and perhaps never will.