Why New York City is Like Your Family


I woke up with my head full of deadlines, and then I turned on NY1 for my daily dose of weather on the 1s, and “In the Papers”, and I realized what day it is. I’ve never written about 9/11, in part because of how politicized it has become and the terrible things that have been done in it’s name, but I went onto Facebook and saw this really wonderful video posted by my brilliant friend Francesca. (film no longer available) that was all about loving NY.

New York City after 9/11

It made me remember what it was like to come to the city when it was so beat up and broken. I posted this on Facebook:

“I moved to NY for a job (the amazing show The Last Five Years). I arrived on Dec 3, 2001. It was 12 weeks after 9/11 and the city was still on fire, the subways were a mess, people downtown still wore masks, the city was hurting, and the people were amazing. It’s hard to describe what it was like, but it was sad and wonderful and beautiful. We’ve lost a bit of that spirit of kindness that existed in those months following the attack, but it still comes back when we need it the most. I’ll never forget how amazing people were during the city wide blackout that happened two years after 9/11. I forgot who said it, but when asked why there was virtually no rioting or crime during the blackout (the city was ravaged by crime during the citywide blackout in the 70s) someone said, because New Yorkers now know the difference between a tragedy and an inconvenience. I saw that spirit of kindness again after Sandy.

We all complain about NYC from time to time. It can be a hard place to live in, but it can also be unspeakably beautiful. I love New York. Thanks for taking me in when you were broken.”

It started me thinking about New York and how frustrating, wonderful, difficult, exciting, ridiculous, brilliant, horrible, and magical it is to live in this city.  You hate and love this place. It infuriates and delights you. It’s like your family.

Just like your family, it’s not perfect, but it’s yours. You understand it when others don’t. You can complain about the insane rents and home prices, but when someone outside the city says “but you can get a mansion in (fill in the blank) for that price”, you say “but then I’d have to live in (fill in the blank) and not NYC.” You can complain about the city, but you are defensive when non New Yorkers ask you “how can you live there?”

After all, just like your family, you can complain about it, but up comes your dukes if anyone else dares to do the same (I think that’s what bugged me so much about the tourist family I wrote about in my subway rant). So just like your family you might take the city for granted from time to time.

So on this day, let’s take a minute to thank our city for everything it gives us. Through all the craziness of the last 13 years, I can still say – I Love New York.

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