I don’t believe in love at first sight. I’m a cynic, you know.
Professing my love for something (animate or inanimate) I’ve just seen, no matter how glorious is an impulse that is highly improbable, if not entirely out of the question in my world.While most people unabashedly proclaimed their mad love for the city within days of being here, it wasn’t surprising, when even after two years I found myself struggling to form an opinion and decide how exactly I ‘feel’ about the city. This city, after all, is hardly perfect. In fact, it’s far from it.
I wasn’t a big fan of all the ‘real’ people around. It is still confounding to me how being a total douchebag to others makes one ‘real’? Burning in the mid-summer hell-fires of the subway station for two years seemed like more than enough karmic retribution for a lifetime and being told off by a homeless person for offering him some hot Starbucks coffee while it snowed outside was enough to cure me of any philanthropic genes I may have picked up during my stay in California.
We did not have a smooth start, this city and I and yet, after 2 years of a troubled relationship and distant gazing of the manhattan skyline from my NJ apartment, with just 5 weeks left before I was to move out, I fell for it.
Maybe it was me, or maybe it was the city but something changed in those 5 weeks of summer. I’m not the one to give in to the sales pitch. Sure there are always things to do and sure, it’s a melting pot of world cuisine, culture, and art. Sure, who doesn’t appreciate the $0.99 pizza at 3am around every street corner, free events all year round and ice-skating in Central Park? Yet, those are not the things that I will miss the most. It took me two years, an interesting subway ride and an epiphany to realize what I love the most about this city.
New York city, for me, is the city of the nonconformists, the misfits. If you’ve felt like an odd bird your entire life, this is the city you will fit right in. You can be your weirdest self here and no one will pass you a second glance. No matter how strange or different you may have felt or been forced to feel all your life, not matter how sure you were that you’ll never fit anywhere, from the moment you land inNYC, you belong. You are home. It’s more than a city, it’s a sanctuary for anyone who needs one. With all its imperfections, the city seems to embrace yours with acceptance and openness of an understanding ally.
As strange as it may sound, it seems the city knows of its many imperfections and is always trying to redeem itself or at the very least offer excellent distractions in the form of countless performing artists who make the subway rides just a little more endurable. That to me is the most beautiful thing about this city, even more than the history it hides, or the dynamic manhattan skyline that always seems to reflect the mood of the heavens above.
Yes, I sound smitten, but then didn’t you know, cynics make the best romantics? It just takes longer to convince us.
‘My Summer Fling’ is a collection of photographs of NewYork City, mostly taken during my last 5 weeks here, with a few sprinkles from my earlier stay.