Reborn in New York

86th St Central Park
86th St Central Park
Great Lawn, Central Park
Great Lawn, Central Park

I was planning to write another controversial hub. But I decided to pause from my usual dissection of big concepts to make way for something important that occurred to me today. This city which I have found myself in suddenly in the middle of my adult life, has captured a passion I usually reserve for larger themes. These themes revolve around the vicinity of G-d, the Universe and Consciousness. In the midst of this landscape in my mind, is a small island called Manhattan, the heart of the city of New York.

Why is it that New Yorkers speak of New York like a lover? Those who leave, long to come back as though they had left a passionate affair with its streets. They describe Central Park in autumn in the same wistful way a lovesick man would talk about the hair and skin of his new lover. Some of those who left New York, speak of it with a resigned tone that reminds me of a divorced man who spoke of an ex-wife he gave everything to. New York is like a beautiful woman that expects the world from you.

New York is indeed one of the most enigmatic cities in the world. It is not the prettiest. I have lived in prettier cities in my life, where castles and seagulls pepper the landscape. But nothing can quite compare to New York’s odd charm. It is dirty. Piles of black plastic filled with garbage line the streets at night. The steam that shoot up from the ground, the yellow cabs that pass through them all make the city look more dangerous than it is.

The throngs of tourist that flow through the bright lights in Times Square go through the city like ghosts pass through walls. They come and go. These strangers make you feel entirely invisible. Yet, for some reason this is precisely why New York gives you the feeling that right here in obscurity, is you being allowed to emerge from hiding.

Your invisibility gives you the license to be anything you want to be. In New York, you are stripped of the roles you are forced to play in the part of the world where you came from. Gay men become gay in New York. Catholic girls wear stilettos and strip down to who they are. Lost souls find their faith in New York away from the prying eyes of patriarchs and matriarchs of all the oppressive shoulds. The men who survive in New York are conquerors. They fight tooth and nail for the few seats that the city offers. The skyscrapers--its arena of mind sport.

A scientist finding a cure for cancer in Starbucks sits across a cancer survivor. They talk to each other as people. Meeting suddenly face to face, one becomes the damsel to her unknown knight. The moment is gigantic. Then just like that they stand up, throw their cups in the garbage and walk away in opposite directions, as if no connection was made. In New York, you spill your soul to a stranger and that person becomes your long lost friend for a few minutes before he becomes a stranger again.

With all these going on in this city, there is room for my daughter to have a quiet day in the park, to smell wildflowers in Cherry Hill with her friends, friends she will most likely grow up with. There is also a tiny space for a strange bird like myself to finally be comfortable in my own feathers.

This small city feels bigger than it is. In the midst of this invisibility I finally see clearly who I have always been underneath all those eyes that use to constantly measure me. Nobody cares who you are here. That is what is liberating about this place. In the same way that the love of your life shows you your true face, New York allows you to reveal the self under that skin. I understand now, why New Yorkers live here and die in other places.

You don’t have to be born in New York to be born in New York.

More by this Author

Comments 14 comments

Twenty One Days 6 years ago

love it, love it, love it!

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author


Thank you, thank you, thank you!

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

For people that are not familiar with New York.

New York is not the state but New York City.

And New York City is five Burroughs,but New York really means Manhattan.

Each of the other Burroughs has a different culture.

Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx.

I miss the Tavern on the Green, a fatality of the economic meltdown.

Looking at midtown Manhattan from one of the skyscrapers, it could be confused with an ant colony. Off course, ants don't drive taxicabs.

Thanks for the trip back.

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi OpinionDuck,

Just went on an unusual tour of Manhattan last night as part of a TEDx event. There, I was taken to see the face of New York, and when I say New York I mean Manhattan. Audrey Munson is the face that inspired all the major monuments (Columbus circle angel). One is right by the Brooklyn Bridge, gold and holding a crown. A certain man killed his wife to be with her, and when of course that was found out, she later went crazy and was institutionalized for the remaining 65 years of her life. She died a few years past Clinton's term. Very interesting story. When you look closely, New York is full of stories like this. Stories of people who live hard lives but who live larger than life.

There are many such meltdowns in Manhattan, personal as well as economic. But to put things in perspective, after looking at Audrey Munson's form we walked back to Wall street and directed our attention to an obscure building that contained the MOST number of gold in the world. Like Munson, it sits there unnoticed. It may look like an ant colony, but it really is a city of giants.

Thanks for reading!

for additional reading on this particular subject, check:

OpinionDuck profile image

OpinionDuck 6 years ago

Hi Cecillia,

Anytime that you put millions of people into such a small geographical area, there are bound to be a multitude of stories.

There was an old TV show called the Naked City and they said at the end of the show, that there are 8 million stories in NYC, and this has been one of them.

Thanks for the link, I will check it out.

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi OpinionDuck,

The truth is other places have other themes. I have lived in various places in the world and the themes are different. While there will be stories that larger than life in some of these other cities, most will be stories of everyday man's struggles. Some however are disturbing in their hopelessness. In Tehran, a woman on a rooftop recorded herself wondering amid the loud cries of Allah Huakbar why innocent life is shed and then people pray. They are different set of stories from Audrey Munson. In Bangkok the stories are usually around the conflict between tradition and the pressures of global economy. In Prague, its mostly stories of the shock of lining up for bananas to American abundance like Starbucks. Different cities, different themes.

I would say New York is unique in that the stories are about people's pursuit of their larger dreams and its cost.

So I contest that 8 million people is all it takes to produce stories such as Munson. People go to New York and stay in New York for a different reason than a person who will decide to live in say Chicago or Paris.

nadja 6 years ago

Someday, someday soon, we shall be neighbors, and our kids, lifelong playmates and pals, while you and I grown-up kids ourselves, playing, talking, eating, drinking and inspiring other people discover their true selves and empower them to fulfill their destiny.

Dear Cecilia,

Thank you for this lovely hub. Keep writing, and I'll be constantly reading.

Your friend and fan,


dirnewyorkcity profile image

dirnewyorkcity 6 years ago from New York City, NY

Thank you for a beautiful hub.

And if you read this today. Happy Mothers Day!

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi Nadj!

I truly hope so! I hope its sooner than I'd expect! I know its a big decision but I'm happy to be part of the trajectory of that big move! Thank you for giving this hub more weight with your thoughts on it. Also your friend and fan,dear.Always!

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author


Thank you for the greeting and for the time you spent reading my little ode to New York.

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

I have visited New York a couple of times, and stayed downtown at the Taft the first time, and with friends the second. You have described exactly what I found. A wonderful amazing city. I LOVE New York!

Great hub! Good enough for me to follow you in fact.

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author

Hi Earnest,

Ooh...well I followed you too, glad you dropped by. I am going to drop by yours now that I have alerts! Thanks again for gracing my hubs with your thoughts. :)

Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

I've been there twice to visit my daughter who lives there....I love New York too.

ceciliabeltran profile image

ceciliabeltran 6 years ago from New York Author

Oh, that's cool! I hope she took you around the places she likes. It's always interesting to find out what things capture your own child's imagination.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article