Sunday, August 4, 2013

A love letter to New York City

Dear New York City,

I've been lucky enough to spend the last 3 weeks hanging out with you. Yes, you are stinky, your early July heat wave really left you needing a shower, you're an expensive date, and a cab driver honked at me one day for walking too slowly across a crosswalk... BUT. I have reaffirmed my love for you. And why is that? Why are you such a gorgeous, artistic mecca?

First, let's start on where I currently live: Vancouver, British Columbia.

An ex once said to me, "Vancouver is the end of the world". I had no idea what he meant by that - after all, I had just moved back to Vancouver, and I was planning on shipping on out within that year, or perhaps in the next 2 years. I didn't understand what that meant! And he explained,

"Everyone who you've ever met that lives here has meant to only be here temporarily. But this place, this style/quality of living, it reels you in and keeps you here. People try to leave -- and Vancouver just sucks you in".

I completely rebelled against that at the time. I was someone different! I was going places! .. And that was almost 7 years ago ... and I still call Vancouver home. I've travelled to a bunch of different places in those 7 years... but I still live there, even though I balk against the arts scene, and just the general vibe of the city altogether. Why is that?

Let me state some of the amazing things I have experienced with you, dear NYC, that have NEVER happened to me in Vancouver:

1)    I went to a New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) show, saw a musical (VOLLEYGIRLS - y'all should TOTALLY keep your eye out for it!) that could very realistically happen on Broadway. I met a Broadway star - someone who has been recognized for her creative & writing talent - and people around her recognized her for her talent, NOT for being on a TV show. And she was AWESOME!
2)    I met a playwright and another writer at a little personal development meeting I went to, and both of them were interested in taking my flyer.
3)    There's clear rehearsal studios to drop flyers off at
4)    This exact interaction happened on the subway: I couldn't hear what the subway guy was saying about changes on the route over the weekend, so I got off the train, thinking I had to wait for the next train. It was REALLY hot. The subway conductor leaned over the side and yelled at me.

I didn't know he was talking to me, so I ignored him.
I continued to ignore him.
"MISS!!!" I looked up, realizing I was the only one on the subway platform.
"What you doin'?" he barked.
"Ummm, I thought you weren't stopping anywhere before 42nd Street".
He looked very mean: Picture Billy Goats Gruff here.
"Where you goin'?" He continued.
"Um, 13th Street"
He curtly beckoned his head towards the train.
"Get on the train. I'm goin' there. Too hot to wait in the subway".
As I blindly refocus my thoughts, he impatiently waits as  I scurry back to the train. I then realized that the muddled words over the Subway were saying that the train was NOT an express, JUST a local until 42nd (I had thought it was the other way around).

But the fact is, he cared about me! As I left for my stop, I flagged him and I said, "Thank you for taking care of me!"
He shrugged, and replied, "It's too hot to wait 10 minutes for the next train." And then he left.

In Vancouver -- a) the skytrain is automated (seriously, they really only care about you if you HAVEN'T paid your fare), and b), I've never heard a bus driver talk to me once in my adult life of living in Vancouver.

5) We were at a food place, and my pal got served ahead of me (it was a deli-style place, so you had to order at the counter). I had taken some time to decide what i was going to eat, but finally I was ready. The deli worker didn't see me ready - his back was to me as he made coffee, cleaned the machines, etc. After about 3 or 4 minutes, I cleared my throat (I know, I know, passive aggressively, I'm working on that, guys) - and he turned his back. I was a little stressed as we had somewhere to be in 10 minutes and it felt like I was wasting time, plus I was hungry. I'm sure I looked very curt.

He looked at me, genuinely surprised, and said, "Oh, you want food too?"
I said (curtly), "Yes, I've been waiting".

NOW -- this is where the difference lies! In Vancouver, my experience has shown that the workers would grow obsequious, and fawn all over the "customer" (for whatever reason), apologizing, etc (even though it wasn't their fault).

This worker, however, no way. He grows incredulous and a bit pissed and says, "Well I didn't know!"

And ya know?! it's true! He didn't know! And it's not up to me to get on my high horse and say he should've!!

6) I had the best copy experience OF MY LIFE in Astoria. It's too much to go into detail over our interactions, but suffice to say that the lovely man at the copy shop was a total prankster, a real sweetheart, and a genuine, lovely man. I can say with complete authenticity, I have NEVER EVER EVER EVER had this lovely photocopier in a mom and pop shop give such incredible service.

So. it's possible (probable?) That this is all a gross exaggeration. Of COURSE, not everyone in NYC is awesome, and not everyone in Vancouver is horrible. So please don't think that's what this article is about. And perhaps because I'm on vaycay, my energy that I'm putting out there is just positive and frolicking.

HOWEVER, as I sit on this delightful grassy knoll in Central Park, watching a bunch of people interact in exactly the same way as people do in Kits Beach, or Stanley Park, my heartstrings tug a little bit. I feel more at home in NYC than I have ever felt anywhere else.. EVER.

This isn't the end, lovely city. Thanks for being so welcoming, kind, and just plain wonderful.


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