I wish I could adequately describe the feeling I have ascending the steps out of Penn Station every morning at 8:30 a.m. sharp. It’s what I imagine a first love to feel like. It’s that first sip of coffee passing through your lips in the morning, or watching a sunset slowly paint the sky orange, but amplified by an innumerable amount.
I walk the same littered path every day, my heels clicking against the sidewalk. I cross the street quickly and walk three blocks uptown, dodging the people selling newspapers and shouting “good morning New York” with an authentic Brooklyn flair.
I turn onto 37th street and cross Broadway, smiling as the same man holding a Dunkin Donuts sign informs everyone that their store front is straight ahead, halfway up the block.
For the duration of the walk, the Empire State Building towers over our heads, causing tourists to stop in the middle of the sidewalk for a photo and causing NYC residents to roll their eyes, annoyed by the break in pace. But who can blame the gawkers? When you have a landmark of the greatest city in the world staring back at you, how can you not take a step back and appreciate it every once in awhile?
New York City in general makes me feel grateful. It makes me feel liberated. It makes me feel like I can do whatever and be whoever I want. It makes me feel drunk, high, happy. It makes me feel things I’ve never experienced with anyone before.
I imagine it feels like the joy a parent has watching their child take his or her first steps. It’s probably similar to the way that child feels at that moment as well — a little unsteady, unbalanced, unsure of what to do next or where to go with this newfound power.
It feels limitless, like endless possibilities exist.
It feels like receiving an embrace by all 8.4 million estimated residents, and simultaneously being told to fuck off by all of them as well.
The city pushes and pulls like the tides, dictated by the crowds of people instead of the moon.
It challenges, motivates, perseveres and pressures. Most might not call it welcoming, but it proves tough love to be true.
The buildings that seem to endlessly stretch toward the clouds have seen joy, pain, struggle, poverty, wealth and every other human emotion that exists. They breathe these emotions into the streets, intoxicating us by the sheer magnitude of it all.
I wish I could adequately describe the feeling I have when my train passes under the tunnel from Long Island and enters this “concrete jungle.” I imagine it’s a lot like falling in love.