I honestly don’t get why people hate Manhattan so much.
What I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand why people grimace at the idea of going into the city. I understand the anxiety of crowds, and the sweating, and the constant worry that at any time, someone can come up to you, and take something that’s yours. But there’s so much more than all of that.
Manhattan is a whole world all on its own: you go from the glamour of the upper end to the cool of downtown. You’re completely surrounded by history and art, as well as its inhabitants and visitors and gypsies and moguls and artists—all these things that make this place so interesting and crazy and wondrous. The city has a life all on its own, and when you take a step back, and a deep breath, you see it. And you feel it.
Like this one time, I was just walking from Penn Station to Grand central, when I got to watch a little girl fall in love with the city. She must have been around six years old, holding hands with her mom on one side, and a man I assumed was her father, on the other. The entire trip, the mom was pointing out different places to her: the public library, the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building.
I didn’t get to catch anything the woman said to her daughter, except, “and that’s where we had our first date.”
The girl jumped up and yelled, “I love New York!” It was Bryant Park her mom pointed at, and this little girl had the biggest smile on her face, her eyes bright.
I had the opportunity to watch this little family bond over My Favorite Place, and an adorable little girl admire The Greatest City In The World. It was a moment like that one that remind me of a simpler time; where another little girl in pig tails would skip through Manhattan, taking in everything New York had to offer her.
It was a moment like the one that family shared that make me have something like hope in our children, and in our humanity. I really hope that that little girl gets to grow up in a world that isn’t tearing apart at the seams, or where people live in fear of going to such beautiful, loud, lively places, like Manhattan.
There are thousands of things you can do on the small island, and hundreds of opportunities that wait for people to take them. There’s no wonder why it’s one of the most desired places to be, and one of the most photographed places in the world. People, myself included, basically see it as Holy Ground. I feel like you can’t help but be in awe and inspired by a city that accepts all people and ideas. Sure, there’s always going to be mishaps and misadventures, but you will find that anywhere you go.
I think you just have to have faith and an open mind about the city. It does crazy things to people—sometimes good, sometimes bad. But it always leaves you changed, in the greatest way possible: you find hope.
Prompt: Tell us a story about a place you love.