8 Reasons Why I Miss NYC

Gramercy Park
Gramercy Park | Source
Classic New York City Bagel
Classic New York City Bagel | Source

Having moved away from NYC 8 years ago, I have since come to accept the absence of many things that New Yorkers take for granted. As the adage goes, “distance makes the heart grow fonder”, and for me this certainly holds true. While many of my childhood friends had already drifted away from the Big Apple years ago to states like New Jersey, North Carolina and even Washington State, I remained behind, enjoying my familiar surroundings and a steady supply of Big Apple foods like ‘everything bagels’ - if you have never tried an authentic NYC 'everything bagel' or better yet, the crème de la crème of bagel sandwiches which is a salt bagel with lox and cream cheese, then you certainly don’t know what you’re missing!

Classic New York Pizza Slice
Classic New York Pizza Slice | Source

Pizza

It is not only bagels that former New Yorkers miss, it is also pizza. And if you are not from New York you must be told that NYC pizza is not eaten with a fork and knife but by hand and typically folded in half. If you are ever in NYC, please don’t embarrass yourself by trying to eat a “slice” with a fork and knife, you will be laughed at and stand out as a foreigner. I never realized that I would miss pizza or that I took it for granted. Imagine my surprise upon moving to Connecticut and finding very few pizza places that even sell pizza by the slice, not to mention the fact that the pizza sauce in CT tastes sweet. Please don’t ask me to explain this, just understand that you can leave the city but you can’t take the pizza with you.

Time Square surrounds you in energy and vibrance
Time Square surrounds you in energy and vibrance | Source

Energy

As a former New Yorker it is not only the bagels and pizza that I long for but it is also the energy. The frenetic, fast paced, hustle and bustle of New York City life is like none other. I remember visiting London, traveling on the underground from place to place and finding it so, well, dull. Sure the sights were quite metropolitan, even historical, with awe inspiring palaces, churches and museums, but with the attractions spaced so far apart and the people appearing stiff and reserved by NYC standards, I never actually felt that I was in a big city. This feeling holds true for most of the cities that I have traveled to both in the U.S. and abroad. I always miss the energy of NYC, an energy which to me, offers a “sense of place” like no other city.

Rockefeller Plaza showcases approximately 200 flags representing the member contries of the the United Nations
Rockefeller Plaza showcases approximately 200 flags representing the member contries of the the United Nations | Source

Diversity

Not only is there a strong sense of place, but there is the melting pot culture, the diverse mix of people from nearly every corner of the globe, which inspires and challenges the curiosity; a kind of outdoor United Nations that provides a world view like no other. I was fortunate to have grown up surrounded by this inherently stimulating and invigorating array of people. Diversity was a given; different cultures, religions, traditions and ways of life brought from every continent. I not only accepted it but relished it. Not to discount the tension and racism that existed at times, but my experience as a child was that of acceptance and embrace of differences, which felt normal to me and, to this day, has shaped me as the person I am.

Broadway Theater
Broadway Theater | Source

Theater and Museums

The rich diversity not only provided me with a wide variety of cultures and people, but with museums and theater as well. The possibility of seeing a Broadway play was always just a train ride away. There is a seemingly endless selection of theater and museums. Living with this on a daily basis is a kind of 'embarrassment of riches', a cultural wealth that is both unique and priceless. I truly miss being surrounded by so very much to fill me with delight and inspiration. Life outside the City pales in this way. I now understand why there are New Yorkers who never actually leave the island of Manhattan, and they don’t own cars because they don’t need to. NYC is a self contained world; a vibrant, vital and living world unto itself.

On the Street With Bill Cunningham

Fashion

Within the world that is NYC, there is also a sense of style that is unique to the city. Bill Cunningham is a fashion writer for the NY Times. He creates photographs and videos that highlight NYC fashion trends. His videos bring me back every time and makes me long for the city I left. Walking the streets of NYC and seeing fashion first hand is something I truly miss.


5th Avenue
5th Avenue | Source

Anonymity

This could very well be one of the qualities of NY that I miss the most. On a given day in New York you can be very social and talk to the people that you meet or you can remain anonymous – it is up to you. You can wear what you choose without being concerned about being judged, or that you must try and fit in. There is a freedom in having the choice to be anonymous and wear what you want without narrow social pressures. Being yourself, whether that self is anonymous or flamboyant, is an aspect of NYC life which is celebrated rather than a means to marginalize or ostracize an individual. And truly one of the NYC experiences I miss most.


A markerNew York City -
New York, NY, USA
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While I won’t be heading back to New York just yet, I do make periodic 'pilgrimages' if only to feel revitalized, rejuvenated and to be reminded again and again, what a truly special place it really it. In between visits, I can’t help but reminisce, relishing my days as a Native New Yorker, or should I say “New Yawka.”

Neighborhoods of New York City

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East Village Pizza Tour

© 2013 Tracy Lynn Conway

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Comments 8 comments

Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

I lived in NYC for about 4 1/2 years right after I graduated college and miss it, even after 25 years. Just took my daughter over Easter for 4 days and it still feels like I know it well. We jumped on and off subways and buses just like I used to. I always loved the neighborhoods. Also loved that I could wear and say what I wanted to and nobody blinked an eye. People from all over could move there and fit right in. Greatest city on earth and every once in a while I dream of those days of living in my dingy small apartment on the lower East side. My daughter liked the city too, but not sure if I could ever persuade her to move there like I did. Thanks for the memories!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

NYC is definitely a one-of-a-kind place. Although I have never lived there, I have certainly enjoyed my visits. Voted up and more.


Thundermama profile image

Thundermama 3 years ago from Canada

I loved this hub, I have always wanted to go to NYC and reading your hub made me want to even more. It was like a beautiful love letter to the city you will always call home.


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 3 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Glimmer Twin, Great to hear that you were able to fit right back into city life even if just for a visit. Isn't it great to wear pretty much whatever you want?

Once I moved away from the NYC metropolitan area I was often surprised that typical houses often seemed like mansions. I was so accustomed to "cozy" living, but living in small spaces is a trade off for enjoying the culturally rich NYC life. NYC is also very walkable city, I miss walking from place to place or using public transportation and not needing a car. Leaving the city was a lifestyle change in ways that I am still coming to terms with. I enjoyed hearing of your experience, Thank you!

Best, Tracy


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 3 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

FlourishAnyway,

Glad to hear you have enjoyed your visits to the NYC, I have heard such a range of opinions about the city from people that love it and wish they could move there to others that feel it is unsafe and can't stand crowds of people. I feel that NYC is a world unto itself. Thanks for the comment and the votes!

Best,

Tracy


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 3 years ago from Virginia, USA Author

Thundermama,

Your comment really grabbed me! Yes, it is like a "love letter to the city." What a great way to phrase it! I consider myself lucky to have begun life in such an enriching environment. NYC really does offer something for just about everyone and the seemingly endless neighborhoods of Manhattan each offer a unique take on the city as a whole. I hope you go and enjoy it yourself.

Best, Tracy


Kim Milai profile image

Kim Milai 24 months ago

I enjoyed your review of the enjoyable things in NYC. I lived there for 12 years. You brought back some beautiful memories, especially the food!


Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 23 months ago from Virginia, USA Author

Thank you, Kim. Just reading your message and skimming over my photos is making me want a slice of (NYC) pizza. I am glad you enjoyed this!

Best, Tracy

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