I’m off to New York for a few days!
I grew up in New York – first in Greenwich Village, as a little kid, my pre- and teen years in blue collar Staten Island, and back to the UWS (upper west side) as a college student and struggling actor. I eventually moved to LA to pursue my dreams, and have not lived in New York for many years. But the moment my feet touch pavement in New York, I’m home.
My husband says I immediately walk twice and fast and start talking with an accent. I instinctively know where to stand on the subway platform so that I’m in the exact right spot when the train comes. I can maneuver my way through a crowd, and I know that in New York, traffic lights are a mere suggestion and not to be given any serious consideration.
But – it’s been a long time since I lived in the City. Things have changed. What used to be little mom and pop shops lining Broadway are now all GAPS and Starbucks. What used to be the unique Chinese Cuban place where you could get a great, cheap meal is now some chain restaurant where you can get … exactly the same thing you can get in Los Angeles.
I know this is progress. New York has always been a city in transition, and to deny that would be to deny the very essence of New York. Sometimes I even feel a little lost in my own hometown, although I would never ever admit it, especially out in public, when it would make me look like a rube. It makes me sad that New York has moved on, and is not really the place I grew up in anymore. But ultimately, it’s exciting to discover all the changes, and remember that’s what most people love about New York – how it’s constantly reinventing itself. When I go back now, I feel like I’m discovering it too, along with all the new transplants from Kansas and Iowa.
I can’t deny that I miss some of the past. But there is one thing that makes my heart sing when I return to New York. One thing that reminds me this is still the city where I grew up, the city I love, the city that will always be my home. One thing that never seems to change.
When I see the iconic New York coffee cup, I know I’m home.