thinking inside the city

I thought you had to be hard to live in New York, like you had to come here with grit already under your nails. You don't. People here are soft, filtered around the edges like any other place. I’ve had more doors opened for me in New York than I would ever in Virginia. There is a collective spirit here, a bond that automatically links everyone. It is the decision, the absolute resolve, to be alone in a sea of people. That decision of isolation, ironically, is the link- because New York is isolating. So vast, so filled, and yet you can end your day with emptiness in your heart.

"It’s because you don't have really deep relationships here. You have a lot of friends, but the connections are not the same," say the 20 something girls sitting in a pub listening to friends play Irish music. I would argue that what they say isn't true. The closeness they talk of- that exists in college, on common halls, in shared rooms. It doesn't happen outside New York either because of the paring off, the coupling that is inevitable. First you have a friend and you are close and can sometimes finish each other's sentences then that friend gets married - step one in the distance between you. Then that married friend has children - step two in the distance between you. You see your friend, you still love her, but there are now complications, messiness, and babysitters to arrange. And there you are, single and wanting a big city to get lost in, to decidedly be isolated inside of. So, this closeness that New Yorkers want so badly. It isn't an anomaly that is only lacking in Gotham. It happens everywhere. It just looks different.

Maybe you do have to be hard to live here, but that grit under your fingernails is really just grit in your heart. And maybe I have that and that is why I love this place, love this city, with it's noise and brittleness and it's softness, just around the edges, like the Hudson and East River rounding the edges of the hard land.

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