Chasing Manhattans

“New York, New York. It’s a helluva town.”

Hey y’all. I hope that you’re having a wonderful morning. It’s a beautiful morning in Manhattan. The air is humid, the trash bags on the sidewalks have magically disappeared and the constant honks from taxis are beginning to grow in volume. New Yorkers have started to invade the streets, flood the subways, scoot into taxis and ignore jaywalking laws. Although New York is just now waking up, I beat the sun to the finish line this morning. It was in the middle of the night that something hit me. Something that I never expected would hit me. I hate New York City.

 

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Your eyes are not deceiving you. You read that correctly. I hate New York City.

My time in the city is coming to an end. No more hailing cabs, subway delays, blistered feet or cluttered living. Sounds like a good thing, right? Right you are! Truth be told, I hate hailing a cab and I hate the subway system. Driving my car from point A to point B would be much easier and cheaper. My feet may finally forgive me for all of the walking that I have put them through the past two summers and I will finally be able to breathe in my own bedroom.

On Friday, my plane’s wheels will hit the runway in Atlanta, Georgia- home. I’ll drive myself down I-75 in a car. I won’t take the subway. I will walk inside my house. I won’t take the elevator to the eighth floor and walk into my apartment. I will lay in my queen sized bed in my own bedroom. I won’t lay in my tiny bed in my apartment where I live with three other girls.

Southern living sounds good to me right about now.

After spending my second summer here, I came to the conclusion that maybe New York isn’t the place for me. Maybe I’m meant to be on the coast somewhere, or a different city, or a different country, or a boat in the middle of the ocean. For a long time now, I figured that I had it all figured out. If someone asked me my future plans, there was no hesitation in my answer. With the flip of my hair, I would pridefully say that I would graduate college and move to New York City to pursue a career in the media. I realize now that New York may not be the answer anymore.

It’s funny how life throws you curveballs, isn’t it? For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, life has more than curveballs in its pitching rotation. Life has thrown me a few sliders, change-ups and fastballs lately, too. Although I’ve made a few line drives, I wouldn’t say that I’ve hit them out of the park.

People are probably reading this and shaking their heads. All that time and money in New York City and Ansley Gentry doesn’t even want to live there. 

It’s true. I don’t want to live in New York City. There- I said it.

However, there is something glamorous about throwing your arm up in the air and having yellow cabs race toward you. There is a rush like no other running to catch the subway before the doors shut. There is a sense of comfort in knowing that you are going home to three other girls who have had a long day in Manhattan, too. Last but not least, there is something majestically melodic about the sound of heels on Manhattan pavement, regardless of whether your feet are bleeding.

New York City has lit a fire in me that no fire extinguisher, fire blanket, or bucket of water could put out…

Which is why I hate New York City. I will never be able to settle for any place less.

There is no place like Manhattan. In no other city can you order a real-deal bagel at 3 in the morning, accidentally walk onto a movie set, find a Starbucks on every corner or see the Empire State Building lit up in all its glory. However, I think that Manhattan is more than the physical landmarks that are actually on the island. In no other city can you find yourself like you can within the Manhattan limits.

So much has happened during the past ten weeks that I have resided here. I have made so many new friendships and reunited with old ones. Thanks to the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, I realized that I am actually pretty good at rowing a boat. After a few broadway shows, I learned that any song that is sung a capella results in tears rolling off my cheeks. I realized after hours and hours spent at the Met, MOMA and other museums that no matter how hard I try, I’m not a fan of art. Thanks to the HBO Film Festival, I realized that the best movies are from the 70’s and 80’s.

Thanks to the inspiration that NYC gives me, I realized that I am irrevocably in love with writing- no matter how much I fight it. I’m excited to say that I used this past summer to work on a novel. That’s right! A novel that has been a long time coming. I look forward to eventually being able to share it with you. (More to come on that later.)

These realizations made me wonder. If one single city helped me realize all of this about myself, maybe there are other Manhattans out there. Some that will inspire me more and make me fall harder than I already have.

On July 19th, I watched my teenage years fade in my rearview mirror as I hit my twenties head on. The big two-zero. Twenty. Even though I have a long life in front of me, every birthday sparks a life evaluation, no matter how successful you are at the moment. It was the first time that the clock striking midnight frightened me a bit. At 12:00 in a booth at Junior’s on W 45th Street, during the singing of Happy Birthday, I realized that I have no idea where I’m going in life…and I like it.

Ten years from now, I may be across the world on a beach somewhere. I may be in Georgia raising a family. I may be hailing a cab on the same corner that I am today. Wherever I end up, it will be a place that lights a fire in my eyes like Manhattan has.

Regardless of what people tell me, I think it is 100% okay to wade in uncharted waters. In fact, I think that’s what we are destined to do. Maybe one day, I’ll find myself wishing that I had listened to them but for now, I’ll continue to chase Manhattans.

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