There are certain cities that incite a feeling of longing. I imagine others have felt it too, it starts as “I think I could live here”. Though for many places the lust is fleeting, that certain feeling subsides and life continues with the memories of a city once traveled.
If the feeling persists, however, it will nag. You will think of that place on your commute and while you make dinner and during your favorite show nothing else can distract you from. And if you still refuse to give the thought attention, the feeling will get louder.
I have had this feeling with a number of cities, but New York City has always run deeper than the others. Growing up on Long Island made Manhattan a place both daunting and awe-inspiring. Somewhere to visit for a show or dinner, but only for a short time. Residence was left for those more resilient and hardened to its seemingly cruel and fast-paced ways.
As years have passed and I have lived elsewhere, the feeling I mentioned has lingered. Only recently has the feeling evolved into a glaring realization that I can be one of those residents. I’ve found there are few opportunities to live out a dream, and given enough hesitation the opportunity erodes to one missed. So I moved to Brooklyn.
In my short time here I’ve seen the skyline stop seasoned veterans in their tracks to admire. The allure of this city hits some like the smell of fresh cookies from a bakery. And much like finding that bakery, crowds and lines and weather don’t deter those living here. Because the magnetic pull that spans the world and attracts tourists has an equal impact on it’s eight million residents.
There are those who leave in search of something better only to return with greater appreciation. Like many cities, the bitter winters and unrelenting crowds can corrode the spirit of even the most battle-hardened New Yorkers. This leads to retirement in Florida as an honorable discharge after years of shoveling show and navigating maze-like subway stations.
For now, however, the only word to describe the feeling is enamored. The skyline is a frame around the countless adventures, memories, and lessons to learn in my time here. Things only made possible by listening to the nagging feeling to give this intimidating city the college try it deserves.
Writing this post reminded me of watching Pinocchio on my old VCR growing up. As a naive child, Jiminy Cricket’s advice to let your conscious be your guide held little weight. Now, with adult responsibilities and obligations, it represents a directive to give that feeling inside attention. Because it may be the beginning to life’s next greatest chapter.