Has anyone else binge-watched Master of None, Season 2? I just finished the episode titled, “New York, I Love You,” and this is an unequivocal ode to that episode. (update: I am editing this piece and now have finished watching MoN Season 2. It’s golden.) I won’t spoil anything, and I won’t reveal which episode number it is — prepare for it to pop up on your laptop (or TV or tablet, or your cell phone, whichever is the ubiquitous digital device you watch Netflix on).
I know I haven’t posted on this blog for a while. It’s been about three months since I last posted, actually. My life was filled with an amazing internship, being involved in my amazing sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma, all the while trying to stay academically stimulated. Thus, three months had flown by. I was going to post my “Aimless Wanderings” piece, which I plan on turning into a series. I had walked around SoHo, the Bowery, and Nolita, so I wanted to share my experience of what it was like to walk around just by myself, with no intention but to walk and observe.
But a few days had flown by since starting the “Aimless Wanderings” post, and I realized that I needed to focus on writing about a more salient message:
I’ll miss you, New York City.
At the end of every Spring semester, I get mushy inside. Feelings of nostalgia, regret, a strange void, and excitement fill up my heart simultaneously. There are so many prospects for the summer because it gives you a lot more time to explore the city. So many of my friends are going to stay in the city over the break as well, so it will be a nice time not worrying about the next paper I have to finish or the next exam I have to study for.
But I started thinking about how much I will be missing the city when I got lost on my way back from NYU’s Greenwich Residence Hall. I had met up with my little (Greek Life jargon for a younger member who is your mentee, but I love her so much like a little sister I never had). Right at that moment, I didn’t want to pull up my phone to search my way back electronically. It was a beautiful day out and the sun shining down that concrete path lured me away from staring down at my phone.
Below first street, when the street names turn into actual names and not numbers, the grid system vanishes and you’re left alone with your Google Maps to find which way is East and West. I decided to take one path just north of where I was standing and began walking. Thus, my wandering began that afternoon. Who knew that getting accidentally lost in the city would bring out so much excitement in me?
I began walking from Morton Street and took a left on Hudson Street, as shown in the right. It looks like a grid, but really, beyond that is a zig-zag of names that I hadn’t explored yet. The one street I know is Christopher Street due to its historical importance for the LGBTQ(IA) community (I had taken my first-year advisees to the Stonewall Inn during orientation week). But as I began walking and gambling on which turn to take, I realized the fun of the city lied partially in being lost. At the moment it might be frightening and anxiety-provoking, but once you start walking, there is bound to be a street or store you recognize. And from there on, you can find your way back home. Granted, if you’re totally new to the city, you may be scared of getting lost in its grid-system. But walker no fear, Google Maps does the trick. Or ask any passerby because New Yorkers tend to be great at giving directions.
The best thing about the city is that at every corner you turn, there is a distraction. Turn to the left and you’ll see a quaint restaurant serving happy hour drinks. Turn to your right and there’s a “wine & spirits” store open until 11 PM. Maybe you took the wrong path and have to head back south. Or keep walking north and maybe you’ll see the tip of the Empire State Building, sitting quietly, waiting for you in the middle of 5th Avenue.
There is no end to exploration in the city, and that is one of the most important aspects of the city that I will miss. I am not the most adventure-seeking person in the city, either, since I mostly venture out into SoHo or LES if I have the time to do so. Granted, I was a student and a part-time intern for the majority of my college career, so it was difficult to force myself to venture out of the lower Manhattan campus. There were occasional trips uptown to Central Park and Bryant Park, or even the Metropolitan Museum, but I found that it’s in the unplanned getaways that I learn the most about the city.
Although I am sappy about leaving the city for three months, another exciting stop awaits in upstate New York! I’ll be attending my older sister’s graduation at University of Rochester, and I can’t wait to see all the beautiful sights there. I’m glad I have my Canon camera now, so that I can revel in the beauty during and after the visit!
New York, you’ve given me my worst pollen allergies and a lot of investments in Claritin. You gave me anxiety about crossing the roads in freshman year, and after a few weeks walking around, I realized that following the walking signs is a very tourist-y thing to do. New York, you gave me my first official job and still give me an overwhelming amount of places to apply to, to the point that I don’t know what I’ll be doing this summer. (As in, I haven’t heard back from so many places I have applied to, but I’ll think of a way to stay uplifted :)!) And most importantly, you’ve given me a sense of direction, both literally and figuratively.
The city is changing, people are coming and going, and memories are always being made. After living here for three years, this is my ode to New York City. Although I have been needing a break from the hustle and bustle, saying a “see you again” to the place you love was pretty difficult.
See you next fall, when I return and become an official senior! Am I looking forward to being part of the oldest undergraduate class at NYU? Not really. I know I’ll enjoy it once I actually experience being a senior, but for now, it’s one of those hypothetically scary processes. Nonetheless, the city will always be there for me to come back to, and that’s what I feel grateful for.