When I was young, I dreamed of living in New York City. My father, a photographer among other things, used to take me on the train from Philadelphia to Central Park when I was barely out of diapers, and even as a child, I knew it was a special place. I sensed that even though I lived in Philadelphia, a city, New York City was the city. When I got older, I would spend the day there with my high school friends, walking and shopping and dreaming of when I would live there, too. And these were the days before Sex and the City — I can only imagine what my obsession would have been if Carrie Bradshaw was my role model. New York always represented Real Life to me. Everywhere else was just a sad poseur.
I never managed to fulfill my dream of living in New York City. Each passing year, I became more and more realistic, less and less brave. Things still turned out just fine for me, and I certainly wouldn’t trade my happy suburban life here for anything. I live in a beautiful area: great place to raise kids, excellent shopping, academically competitive schools, low crime, fresh air, horses and Starbucks each ten minutes away. But there is a small part of me that will always wish she could live a New York life, too. Then Ed reminds me of the large part of me who hates crowds, lines and germs, the part who is claustrophobic and always proclaiming she “needs her space.”
I love that different is normal in New York. Everyone is from somewhere else; everyone brings something different to the party. And when you’re constantly around all that “different,” you just can’t help it — you become broader, wiser, better. You take the best parts of all those different people and they become a part of you. When you’re only around people just like yourself, it’s harder to grow. Not impossible, but it takes more work.
One of the greatest joys about starting this blog is learning that I have readers from far away places — some which I’ve visited (France, Spain, England), some which I’ve only read about (Viet Nam, Pakistan, Nepal, Korea), and some which I had to look up on a map (I won’t embarrass myself with examples). To know I am connecting with people outside of Chester County, Pennsylvania is thrilling beyond words. Not New York City thrilling, but it will do.
I want to share with you one of my favorite websites introduced to me by my friend Kathe. It’s called Humans of New York. Photographer Brandon Stanton walks around New York City and takes pictures of all the different characters he comes across, a photographic census, so to speak. The Facebook page is updated way more frequently than the website, so I would suggest liking the page if you’re on Facebook.
The video below is just a small taste of some of the beautiful people you will find on the website and Facebook page. It is the perfect shot of humanity for this wannabe New Yorker, and I find it impossible to watch this and not think, “Yes, I do love people.”