Last night I went to bed at 3 in the morning in Tempe, Arizona. Tonight, I am going to bed at 11 at night in New York, New York. The city ceaselessly rolls outside my window, and my head is still whirling from the time zone change and anxiety of being invited across the country for an internship interview.
This is my short impression of the city that never sleeps.
I have not yet seen the city during the day time, but even on a Sunday night in a cab through Manhattan, I can tell just how many people are in this city. There are thousands of people going in any direction at any given time. I have been in Chicago more times than I can remember, and there is a similar gush of human movement in the city. But in New York, there seems to be this echoing vastness that carries on in every direction, drowning out the significance of any single movement. The sky scrapers are countless, and every building has an entirely different character than the one next to it.
New York has a classiness that I have not seen before. Dublin was irreverent, Chicago was working, Phoenix was taking its time, and New York is important. When they say that New York is the empire state, it really feels like the city is an empire, like the Star Wars Deathstar. The lobbies are lavish, the hotels have a history, the men walk quickly and wear camel-skin overcoats. The streets are filled with well dressed people, and you feel like everyone is on their way to a secret world of Mad Men meetings and government councils.
New York makes you feel important, or at least like you are part of something important. It impresses you and invites you to join, like eating at the grown up table at Thanksgiving. You feel like you will find what you are looking for here, and it’s just a matter of being in the right place to find it. People get their big break in New York, and it’s the destination of millions of ambitions young graduates.
I do not know if this is a city that I have fallen in love with, but I do know that it is more of a city than any other city I’ve ever seen. I am anxious, excited, exhausted and unprepared for New York City. But I think that’s how the city makes everyone feel.