05 Dec 2018

On New York

“But do you have manousheh in SF?” Michael asked as we sat down at a Korean dumpling place in Ktown.

“No, Michael I don’t” I said as I rolled my eyes to look at the menu.

I consider myself a New Yorker. I moved to Washington Heights when I was eight from the Dominican Republic and lived in NYC until I left for college at seventeen. The decision to move across the country to San Francisco after college wasn’t hard: I wanted to explore a new city knowing that I could always come back to the “greatest city in the world”. In fact, I craved a new place so badly, somewhere I could have a fresh start. I knew I wanted a “big” city with other young people but SF was almost entirely arbitrarily decided upon. Living in the Bay for the past year has been incredible, but being back in NYC for the past two weeks has made me realize all the wonderful and special things I miss about New York City. So here are the top 8 things that make NYC special to me:

  1. Multiculturalism: Being able to have authentic Lebanese manousheh for lunch while listening to Romeo Santos and then walking down the block to get Brazilian brigadeiro for dessert.

  2. Seasons: Fall foliage and rainy days. Seasons are God’s way of telling you that you have room to change and you can start over every few months. Seasons also makes you grateful for sunny days.

  3. Public Transportation: Only needing $2.75 to get you from Washington Heights to Bed Stuy… or anywhere really.

  4. Food: On one hand, there’s a million Sweetgreens, halal carts, dollar pizza places, etc and other amazing, cheap, delicious food from so many different cuisines available to you. On the other hand, there’s high end curated food experiences that one could only dream of.

  5. Energy: The magical energy of people rushing to make their (or their kids’ or parents’) dreams come true. People come to NYC because the way it embodies the American dream compares to no place else.

  6. The diversity of lifestyles: The models having photo shoots on the streets of SoHo, the finance guys with their suits near Times Square, the vibrant immigrant communities and the musicians (everywhere).

  7. Space: The ability to squeeze onto a very uncomfortable subway train, walk in a huge crowd, or make space for someone at a crowded cafe or restaurant. New Yorkers are especially talented at understanding how to navigate urban shared spaces. In a place so crowded, I’m still surprised how it all works.

  8. People: Most importantly, NYC has my people: my family, my childhood friends, and some of my college friends. Beyond that, NYC has so many interesting and fascinating people - just take a look at the HONY Facebook.

All in all, my two-week trip to NYC was fabulous. It made me value all the things I had missed so much about NYC but it also made me realize how lucky I am to be living in SF and how SF has its own list of things that make it special.

So, no I don’t have manousheh here, but I do have some of the best burritos just a short 5-minute walk from my cozy little apartment with my two wonderful roommates.