Sunday’s laundry day!
I am now in New York City, graciously living with family friends in the lower east side.
Within a week of the end of the school year, I went from Chicago (school) -> DC (home) -> Chicago (for Brickworld!) -> NYC (summer internship)
Given the time frame of all that travel, it’s been interesting to compare the three cities. Granted, my experience in Chicago hasn’t been wholly in Chicago—Northwestern’s located in Evanston, IL, a few miles north of Chicago—but I traveled downtown a number of times. That, and that Chicago is so spread out that people very far from the downtown still say “I live in Chicago.”
This is one of the reasons I don’t like Chicago as much as DC or NYC; it’s smeared-out, with fairly distinct neighborhoods and little reason to travel from one end of the city to another. It’s disjoint, somewhat splintered. The “downtown” magnificent mile is super touristy.
By contrast, while DC and NYC are both large geographically as well (I technically live in Virginia, but I say “I live in DC”—I can be in the thick of the city within 15 minutes or so), they actually feel less tourist-ey than Chicago. Business & residential areas are more blended, the neighborhoods meld together, and they form more cohesive city experiences.
I can see myself living in Chicago for a few years, tops. DC is good for raising a family, as I see it—lovely resources, very clean, lots of museums and good dining; it’s less in-your-face-all-the-time than NYC. New York… I need to live in New York as a young man. I guess I’m doing a little bit of that right now.
I had legitimately forgotten how much I like New York. I visited for a day and a half last summer, just as a weekend excursion via Megabus from DC to do some shopping and walk around. Three summers ago, I was here for a class and loved every minute of that month. Five years ago I took a one-week film-making class here through NYU, and even before then I had come to New York once in a while with my Mom (she went to high school here and likes the city a lot). Basically, I’ve loved New York for a big percentage of my life thus far.
I was worried, actually, that I wouldn’t like it as much as I had in previous years. That the charm would have worn off or something, after a few years with lots of moving around and my growing sense of being relatively numb to place. Within the past four years, I essentially moved out of mid-Michigan to the greater Detroit area for high school. Then, my family moved to DC area. Then I went to college in northern Illinois. “Home” has been 4 different locations, essentially, and I’ve simply gotten accustomed to my things and ideas of belonging being very spread out. While I loved my trip to Morocco this spring, even there I felt that I somehow wasn’t fully sinking my teeth into being there.
Within a day, I remembered why I like NYC so much. It’s EVERYTHING. All in one place. I’m a person who needs a really high level of stimulation, all the time, in order to be productive and happy. Sometimes I can supply this myself, and when I don’t I get lazy or sad. New York completely prevents me from doing either.
That’s enough for now, I suppose. I’m learning to be frugal with my food expenses and I’m doing an absurd amount of window shopping…