December destination: New York City

December destination: New York City

The city of dreams, New York is a veritable melting pot, a cultural hodgepodge and the fastest, most vibrant city on the planet. Born and bred New Yorker Amanda Coletta has never lived anywhere else, and here, she reflects on her unwavering hometown love.

“One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” – Tom Wolfe

I truly do believe Mr. Wolfe’s quote. Friends of mine have said that they felt complete the moment they arrived in New York and stepped off the plane for the first time. The piece they could never quite put their finger on, but knew was missing, was here in New York all along, and they finally felt a belonging.

I was lucky enough to have been raised in New York. The city’s energy flows through my blood and while I love to travel the world, I always come back home; I belong to New York and New York belongs to me. When I’m away too long, I feel the pull to come back. My equilibrium needs to be reset. I need to feel the city’s energy, an enveloping pulse of eight million people moving at a faster pace than anywhere else in the world. 

It’s funny because if I’m in a foreign country and someone asks me where I’m from, my answer is never “America” (and that’s not because I’m not a proud American). Without hesitation, I always respond, “New York!”.  But who am I kidding? Most of the time people don’t have to ask where I’m from, they often assume and ask me, “Are you from New York?”

I walk faster, talk faster, get things done faster, wear a lot of black, keep crazy hours, and have never had a driver’s license. The only thing that throws them is my accent, or lack thereof (years of theater training will do that!) and my niceness (years of working in hospitality will do that!). 

New York City’s unmistakeable traffic

Speaking of niceness, New Yorkers are most definitely the nicest people you'll ever meet. What many perceive as mean or rude is actually just rushed! New Yorkers time things perfectly, and if they miss a subway or can’t find a cab, their perfectly timed day just got ruined.

New Yorkers will never let a tourist get lost. Need directions? Ask us. If there’s a crisis (and unfortunately we’ve had our share), New Yorkers come together. It might be one of the world's largest cities, but in times of need we are there for each other. New York boasts a human connection like no other city.

New York is a city of eight million people striving to reach their dreams. I don’t know of another city where you say, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Do you want to reach your goals and be the best at what you want to be?  New York is the place for that.

New York City is home to eight million people

Dennis Gonzalez said, “I love New York because within its borders you can travel the world.”

Learning about other cultures is truly a reason to travel, but I consider myself lucky to live in a city that is home to almost 800 languages, a true melting pot! That melting pot has its perks and in a sense, I’m spoiled. I can crave any kind of cuisine in the world, and be eating it within an hour at any time of the day. A Pierogi at Veselka or a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s, Sushi Seki Omakase at 2.00am, a midnight pasta with a glass of wine at Dell’Anima, or grill my own Korean Barbeque at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong until 5.00am.

Head to Central Park for some peace and quiet

Hearing numerous languages spoken while I’m sitting on the subway is like listening to a symphony. The soundtrack of New Yorkers’ lives is far from quiet, but if it was quiet, it would be strange. Have you ever stood on a busy corner of New York and just listened? Really listened? Just for a minute or two? The sounds you will hear; bits of conversation, music, language, stray car horns, horses trotting, babies crying….the sounds of life. 

There are also moments of complete peace that can be found amongst the madness. A nap in Central Park, the half-hour lunch break enjoying the organized chaos of Bryant Park, kayaking along the Hudson, studying at the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library, visiting the Cloisters, taking a moment at the 9/11 Memorial’s reflecting pools; the list could go on and on. 

New York is full of juxtapositions: calm and chaotic, peaceful and unruly, luxurious and no frills, playful and serious; it is the yin and yang in all of us, a balance that will always make me return. It is why I can say I will always be a New Yorker.

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