Today as I was walking down Broadway, (can I just mention how much I love saying that?), a friend called out to me, “You look very New York!” We said “Hi” in crossing and both went on our respective ways. However, the comment brought a smile to my face and a new bounce in my step. (Well, as good a bounce you can have with twenty pounds of textbooks in your backpack.)
As I continued on my way, I started wonder, what does it mean to “look very New York”? All the clothes I was wearing I had bought in Chicago (except for the pair of jeans I bought on clearance at an upscale 5th Avenue department store two years ago); does Chicago style mimic that of New York or have I been dressing like a New Yorker for years? Is “New York” really a fashion statement or merely a state of mind?
In my two months living in Manhattan I’ve realized that I’ve gained a stronger self-confidence, an assurance that I am my most perfect version of myself, that I need not try to be someone I am not or change due to other people’s expectations. These are things I heard from teachers all my life, yet the words suddenly came true as I experienced daily life on this crowded little island.
The thing is, there’s always going to be someone weirder/smarter/crazier/prettier/happier/stronger than you in New York. It’s inevitable. In a city of so many people, many of whom moved to New York for new beginnings, to find fame or love or money or just happiness, to experience of mix of cultures and a never-ending lack of privacy, it remains completely foreseeable that these unique characters will have something on you. They’re destined to win the eccentricity race.
However, that’s what I absolutely love about this city: there’s no competition. No battle to win others over and no test to prove your identity: you are who you are and that’s fantastic.
For those of you who have never been to New York, I cannot stress enough how much we want you here! There’s so much to see, do, and learn that even the shortest trip is sure to be inspiring. Whether you’re just wandering in Central Park or pushing through crowds in Times Square, you are certain to witness new and exciting people and events, you can’t help but experience the “New York State of Mind!”