Nothing quite prepares you for New York, except actually being in New York. As Frank Sinatra once sang, “My little town blues / they are melting away” and that is exactly what happens when you stroll through Times Square at two in the morning and realise New York actually is the city that never sleeps.
Coming from a rural town with a population of no more than 20,000, making my way through this hub of city life was like visiting a foreign country where I understood nothing the locals were saying. It was as though I was six again and the slice of cake on my plate seemed a thousand times bigger. Not even my visits to Los Angeles helped accustom me to the barrage of advertising that assaulted me as I walked down lively streets, doing my part as the out-of-state tourist.
However, I couldn’t help but admit that I loved every second of it. Seeing nightlife that stayed awake past 9pm and meeting people who actually knew theater existed. It was like being back in college, where every night was a party night. It’s not that I am, or ever was, a party-going maniac, but it’s the socialization and meeting people who live beyond the borders of the wasteland I call my hometown.
New York City was it for me. I felt as though I could disappear in the chaos and live in a tiny apartment with noisy neighbors and cars honking outside 24/7. It’s not everyone’s idea of a perfect life, but it’s an experience that everyone should try at least once, if only so it can be a story for the grandkids. Or when you’re waving your cane, yelling at the neighbors to get off your lawn. New York City is one of those darned kids that keeps coming back, just to test your patience.
It’s bold and in-your-face with lights and sounds that drown out the voice of reason in your head, the one that tells you to go back to your hotel because 2am is not a reason to have another drink. Being in New York is like coming home; you walk the walk of the locals and by the end of the weekend, you’re crossing the street based on traffic, not on the street-crossing signal. You bustle with the crowd and acquire a strange accent that makes you sound as though you’re from a sitcom from the 80s.
There’s truly nothing quite like it.