I've lived in New York for about 23 years now after we moved from the Philippines when I was just a little kid. Like your typical immigrant story, we moved around quite a bit, living with various aunts from Long Island to Queens.
When I hit 9, my mother finally decided to settle down in Queens where we lived in numerous rented homes. I recall taking the F train from Queens to Herald Square 34th Street where my mom took me for my yearly back to school shopping trips. It was such a treat, going to the world's largest Macys and Conway. Yes my mother had a thing for Conway (for those of you not familiar - it's like a budget retail store where you can get tons of clothes and housewares for cheap) and I remember being so embarrassed of walking around holding the bright pink shopping bags (god, I was an awful kid!) For lunch, my mom would buy us two personal super supreme Pizza Hut pizzas - her favorite. Then it would be time to head back to Queens. I always dreamed of living in the city that never sleeps and 3 years ago that dream finally materialized - woohooo!!! One can argue that living in the other four NYC boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, or Staten Island) counts as "the city", I say a big uh-uh to that.
There comes a time when Manhattanites (well at least this one) think to themselves will I ever be ready to leave this place ?
I love living in the city. It's not like I take full advantage of living here, but I just love the options that I have. I love the IFs. The food, the sounds, the lights - it just makes you feel so alive. Of course, there's the traffic, the lovely smell of garbage in the 95 degree heat, the needle exchange program in front of Tompkins Park on Wednesdays... but it's all part of it, it's part of the appeal. Underneath it's hard glossy exterior, you find a nice pub that the trendsters have overlooked, a hole in the wall Mexican stand where you can still eat a meal for less than $6, a brunch spot where you don't have to be on a 2-hour long waiting list to enjoy a Croque Madame. Where else can you be in Paris for breakfast, buzz "Down Under" to munch on baby Kangaroo kebabs for lunch, back to Germany for a quick Brotzeitteller snack, quick stop in Madrid to enjoy a glass of sherry before suppering in Ethiopia? All without stepping foot in a private super sonic jet.
Will my love affair with this city I call home ever end? Like all good love affairs, you discover the quirks, reach an all-time high and slowly it all fades into a memory.
Lately I've been day dreaming of a small garden, more space for my hands to work...