I can finally admit this without gritting my teeth or cringing in dismay: I think I love New York. Everyone I know in this city kept telling me to wait until the summer and New York would come to life right before my eyes and I would love the city like never before. Naturally, I respectfully told them that no, that would not happen and that they were crazy for even thinking such a thing! I had even written a lovely blog post about how much I hated this city (pathetic, I know).
Well, of course, they were right. Somehow dear old New York nudged her way into my heart and I let her stay there.
This past weekend I took a two-hour bike ride with my housemate. We biked up Manhattan, across the 59th Street bridge into Queens, down into Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn and then across the Williamsburg Bridge and back home again. It was quite exhausting but exhilarating at the same time.
Experiencing each neighborhood and seeing how one block can be drastically different from the next reminds me yet again how complex and beautiful this city is. At the same time, it also reminds me of how much hurt, loneliness, and pain there is as well. The juxtaposition between beautifully manicured homes on one block and run down warehouses on the next, in a way, mirrors the people of this city.
One of the most beautiful soul-bearing things I saw on the ride was a building full of graffiti art called 5Pointz. Artists have beautifully decorated the facade of a huge factory building for about ten years. Graffiti has always been one of my favorite art forms; it is so raw that you can feel the spirit of the artist as if they are standing in front of you.
Another thing that made me fall in love with New York City was a trip to Coney Island with my housemates. The amusement park and boardwalk were a porthole to the past when Coney Island was the summer spot. It still is, in many ways to many people, but you can also feel a sense of abandonment and loss there.
Riding rides, indulging in overly fried food, witnessing fireworks after the minor league baseball game, and spending time with people I love took me back to days in my childhood and made me feel the happiest I’ve felt in this city in a long time. I must say, each and every time I go into Queens and Brooklyn my heart longs to stay there and never return to Manhattan.
I look forward to more events and happenings this summer that will make me fall in love with New York even more. Perhaps, it may even be hard to leave this city come September. Either way, I’m going to enjoy this summer lovin’ while it lasts!