What is it about New York that makes it such a vital, pulsing city? What is it that gives it's residents that look in their eye, 'Hey, I own this city!'.
A good friend of mine said recently that everyone who comes here is 'like Peter Pan'. People can be whoever they want when they come here. New York provides a blank canvas and a never ending possibility of..well, possibility. You just never know who or what night happen to you in a single day. One minute you could be sitting next to a rock superstar in a West Village cafe, the next you you pass a man walking with a cat sitting on his head. But stepping away from the guide book cliches, what is it that really gets under your skin and makes you love the city like your first crush?
Manhattan's key ingredient is it's people - an engaging, caring, fearless, hard-working, interesting, dynamic group. I have had so many encounters with complete strangers that puts all my faith back into humanity. With out a single exception, every time I grab a coffee, someone chats to me. Every time I have looked lost and confused in the subway system, someone has stopped to offer help. People are busy, their brows furrowed against the biting cold, but give them half a chance and they will help their fellow man. Spirit and compassion, it is palpable and inspiring. The other less politically correct ingredient is capitalism. New York beats to the drum of the dollar, but anyone can dance. Apart from gaining entry into some preppy cults in the UES, you just need some rhythm and desire to dance til you drop...and you're in. It's capitalist nature makes it a meritocracy. You get out what you put in.
What does that mean for me and people like me? Having been a full time Mom, out of full time work for seven years it means light at the end of a tunnel. It means that every time I stop and have a cup of coffee there is someone interesting to talk to. It means someone out there will see the inherent 'New Yorkness' in my possibility - engaging, caring,fearless, hard-working...they will, won't they? And if they don't...my love affair will have to go long-distance.