January 6, 2015

The First Snow in NYC

It's snowing! It's snowing! I - and every other person living in NYC - shout from the rooftops. Granted, this weather would have been nice in December so that singing "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas" didn't garner me so many bizarre looks.

I chose not to write "I - and every other New Yorker" in the first sentence on purpose.  First of all, I've only been here for 5.5 months, but it's more than that. Jackson and Emily Ann would love that I'm about to make this reference... There is an episode of How I Met Your Mother when everyone has their own version of what Robin must do to become a "true" New Yorker. And that episode doesn't feel far off. There are many Buzzfeed articles like "You know you are from NYC when..." or "Things All New Yorkers Can't Stand." And somehow there is this perpetual barrier between "living in NYC" and "being a New Yorker." Now, I don't have this deep-seated desire to be considered a real New Yorker. But, I think that NYC sometimes feels like this weird clique that millions of people are in, but no one that I know. Which makes me wonder... Who is actually in the club?

Have I...
...cried on the subway? Shamefully, yes.
...changed trains mid-commute due to unforeseen delays? Enthusiastically, yes.
...paid $20 for a drink? Regretfully, yes.
...eaten a bagel while walking? Stubbornly, yes.
...seen a movie being filmed on my street? Casually, yes.
...paid someone to do my laundry rather than use the coin machines? Bashfully, yes.
...started saying "on line" instead of "in line"? Staunchly, no.

But, there many things that I have either done or failed to do that somehow disqualify me from being a "real New Yorker." For instance, I still look up and admire the tall buildings (and occasionally take a quick picture while pretending to take a SnapChat of my own face). I really like touristy places (with the exception of Times Square). I still can't bring myself to eat from a street cart. I smile at strangers. The promoters at the base of the Empire State Building still try to sell me tickets every time I walk by as if they can see through my practiced "focus face" and intentionally-worn headphones into the fact that I am still not "one of them."

So what am I then?

Our pastor is always talking about how the most counter-cultural thing we can do here is stay. We live in Williamsburg - the hipster capital of everything - amidst people doing everything in their power to be different. But no one stays. No one is here for long. And while staying would be counter-cultural, so would accepting new people. Even people who claim to want to be totally unique still want to feel welcomed. And New York City isn't particularly good at that. I grew up in a place that depended on tourism, so I understand the locals' mindset of "tourist disdain." Believe me, I participated. But NYC is full of people trying to take on the role of local but get lost in the shuffle - not from here, but not from anywhere else either.

I do hope to stay here a while. And one day I'll be able to say "I'm from New York" rather than my current "I just moved to NYC." Or maybe I'll be a permanent transient (how's that for an oxymoron?). Either way, I like New York City. Shocking, I know. Isn't this the love-hate relationship everyone always talks about when they talk about The Big Apple? Well, here I am, jumping on that bandwagon, too.

Have I...
... started to really like it here? You betcha.

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