I can’t remember exactly when my love for New York began – it was somewhere between the ages of five and seven. Too young to realize just what the city represented, it was the lights and skyscrapers that got me. As the years passed, I discovered more and more about the Big Apple; watching documentaries, trawling through books and websites and inevitably seeing it on TV.
Through every year of my teens, a photo of New York City took centre stage on my bedroom wall and every night, just before going to bed, I would gaze at it and imagine what it would be like to live in the city that never sleeps. I’d look at the lights shining through black and white windows in faraway rooms and wonder what it would be like to live in there, to have that window as my own.
When I finally got to visit New York City, I left home with the fear that the city I’d built up in my mind for most of my childhood would disappoint. Television and photography have a good way of prettying things up and glazing over the little things that no one wants to mention. And then, after 18 years of waiting, I got my first glimpse of that famous skyline as our plane made its way toward JFK. There are no words that can describe what that moment meant to me.
I’ll admit I wasn’t in the city long enough to truly experience it. Four days was all I could afford and, coupled with the constant rain and the fact that I was seven months pregnant at the time, there was a lot I wanted to do that I couldn’t. And yet somehow, despite all of that, I spent all four days floating in a haze of happiness and bewilderment. How could it be that the city exceeded my every expectation? Could a city as magical as this truly exist?
It does. It’s filled with rooftops of character and buildings so tall they command your attention. On every corner there’s a gift shop filled to the brim with T-shirts and snow globes and magnets and keyrings – all bursting with colour, like the city itself – all saying one thing – I ❤ New York. And I do. Right to my core.
The faces are ever-changing and the words you overhear come from languages that fill the sky with a constant hum of melodies. The streets are clean and the subway makes every other form of transportation I’ve taken feel unnecessary. Yellow cabs are really everywhere and giant pretzels are always available. At night, the city lights are unlike anything you’ll ever see and the streets are always bustling with people.
To be honest, I’m sitting here, trying to figure out how to paint you a picture that does New York justice and the truth is, I don’t know how. Words have never been a problem for me but somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever find the right ones to truly signify just how magical the city of New York is. Often, when I think back to my time there, I long for the feel of the NY night air on my skin, I long to hear the sounds of echoing sirens in the darkness and to see the Staten Island Ferry cross the Hudson just one more time.
No amount of explanation will truly do NYC justice. The city is magical, entrenched with more culture and love than anywhere else I’ve been. You’ll believe it when you see it, and you’ll love it just the same. Dear New York, every day since I met you, I’ve found myself missing your energy and praying that one day I’ll meet you again. Until then, I’ll say this – the best city in the world, the one that never sleeps, the Big Apple – fancy phrases to describe a place, that more than anything, feels like home – and isn’t that the true measure of a city anyway?
Deanna spends her days buried in a jumble of words and her nights trying to balance family life and everything in between, all while doodling the name Grohl on her notepad and watching reruns of Supernatural. If it’s on TV, she’s seen it. If it’s the latest fad diet… she’s tried it. She’s got a lot to say.