You know how people say that living in New York City is like living in a bubble? I think they say the same thing about LA. Growing up in the midwest, I thought that was ridiculous. I mean, how could one city be the center of its citizens’ lives? How could people think they never needed to travel outside this city?
But here’s the thing: It happens. Very, very easily. With the giant melding of cultures and subcultures here in the city, really the only reason I have to ever leave is to see people who don’t live here (though most of the time the visitors come to me). I’ll head back to Oklahoma sometime this summer or fall, but other than that, I can find pretty much whatever I need within forty-five minutes of my apartment. Literally anything.
People also say that you can walk from one street to another and be immersed into a completely new culture. This is also true. I work part time in SoHo, but I take the train to Canal Street, famously known for being a major tourist trap and the final destination for knock-off designer goods. Why? Because I get off on Canal Street, walk three or four blocks, and I’m suddenly in one of the most chic areas of New York, the final destination for legit designer goods.
The little mustache on this map to the left indicates the general vicinity in which I live, which, as you can see, is in Brooklyn. However, for those of you not familiar with NYC, Brooklyn is a borough of the city – as is Manhattan. Most tourists don’t come out to Brooklyn because it seems “too far” outside of Manhattan, but it really is only 20-30 minutes by train into Midtown. A pretty comparable commute, right?
If you know anything about Brooklyn, it’s probably that it’s where those hipsters reside, which isn’t exactly untrue. However, Brooklyn has a huge and wonderful culture of its own, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I’m not saying that it’s better to live in any one borough, but a borough is definitely a point of pride to any New York resident. On my days off, I don’t go into Manhattan, simply because there’s no reason to.
I don’t dislike Manhattan. Every second is a new opportunity here, that much is true. Everywhere you turn, there’s a new person and a new experience (good or bad) waiting to happen. But the same thing is true in Brooklyn, except there are far fewer tourists and, while things aren’t exactly slower paced, they aren’t always running at the breakneck speed that Manhattan is. Like, for example, I would generally feel safe riding a bike in Brooklyn, where the thought of cycling in Manhattan sends me into maniacal laughter.
I’d be doing a huge disservice, too, if I didn’t mention Queens as another of the five boroughs that I enjoy a lot. I haven’t spent as much time there as I’d like, but every time I go I have a great time. Plus, I really live right on the edge between Brooklyn and Queens, so occasionally I cross over for different shopping type things.
It’s a weird place to be. Sometimes when I’m in Brooklyn I forget that I’m in New York City proper still, just because of how different it is. But then again, I can see the Empire State Building from my bedroom window, and I look at it first thing in the morning and last thing before I fall asleep at night. Every day I feel so incredibly blessed that I can live in a city where I can experience literally every culture within minutes of each other, if I so desire, and that this is a bubble that I’m okay with living in. New York can be isolating, it’s true, but I also don’t think there’s another place that gets me quite like this city does. Maybe I’m just another twenty-something statistic here, but you know, that means I’m really not alone. Sometimes it’s hard, but it’s always worth it.
This is the briefest of blogs about New York. I mean, there’s no way to explain it in one post. This is going to be a series of sorts, an unofficial one in which I talk about things in New York. I guess that’s what this blog is generally about, right? Vague enough for you? But there’s more to come, of course.
For now, though, sit tight and keep your eyes peeled on Sunday, which just so happens to be my twenty-fourth birthday! Big things poppin’ in these parts around then.