They call it the city that never sleeps. It’s an appropriate name, but there’s more to it than that. New York is like a noisy roommate who’s idea of music is blasting the sounds of police sirens: it’s not just the city that doesn’t get any sleep. It’s incredible really. Give me a piece of cold rocky ground and I can sleep like a kitten in a pile of warm sweaters, but stick me in New York with nothing in particular to do and sleep dries up like a puddle in the Sahara.
It’s not just sleep either. Feel like going for a nice little stroll through the city? Careful or you’ll end up like Mustafa in the Lion King. Don’t you know people in New York have places to go and people to see? Now what makes these places and people so damn urgent remains a mystery to me, but that doesn’t keep me from adopting the attitude. I didn’t find one minute to write the whole time I was there.
Of course this level of intensity can be incredibly stimulating. There’s perhaps no other city on Earth you can leave for six months, come back to and then find yourself surrounded by new things. As I was walking to the country’s largest used book store, I just stumbled upon a new gourmet cheese store that had a cheese making factory built right in. I mean who comes up with these things?!
The dark side is the soul crushing pressure and stress that comes along with life in the city. It’s enough to turn anyone into a self-absorbed workaholic with a Napoleon complex. Want to share the details of your six month Odyssey with some good listeners and get some positive feedback? Well you’ve come to the wrong place. The jungle is a dangerous place: it’s ill or be killed, every man for himself here.
New York City has been my home for over ten years: I love it and hate it. I’ve known it as a student and a worker. I’ve lived everywhere from Wall St. to a couch in someone’s Brooklyn basement. Rich or poor, happy or depressed, I’ve seen it from every angle. It’s a place like no other, terrible and wonderful at the same time. Words and pictures can’t capture it, no more than they can capture a sunrise or a mountain top, but then again, that’s never stopped me from trying. Nor should it, after all, I’m from New York.