When I was 12 years old, I came to the U.S. for the first time with my family. We went to a lot of places such as San Francisco and Santa Barbara in California & New York City. My whole life I have known myself as being a person who is not a big fan of big cities, though very much a lover of animals. Any family trip we had been on, I would only remember encounters with animals, and New York City was no exception. What I primarily remember from NYC back then was the dog parks and the squirrels. I was amazed by the number of dogs that could run around and play together. I just loved to watch them – it was special for someone like me who always wanted a dog, but never had one. And the squirrels – they were so tame, came up real close to me, which was so exciting.
Another thing I remember about the city is how overwhelming it was. I remember the smell of urine and trash lying in the street. Growing up in a rather pristine neighborhood, it was surprising to me as a kid. Obviously, now that I have grown up, I know that not every place is like that. However, it left quite a mark on me, though I think especially the huge amount of people was something I was very unused to.
Coming back to the U.S., I thought to myself that I wouldn’t go back to NYC. The strong image in my head kind of repelled against it even though it was a long time ago, and NYC seemed like a good option since it is so close to Philly. But… my parents managed to convince me that, now that I’m older, things might be different and I would see the city in a different light. So, I ended up going. The conclusion I have come to is that my opinion hasn’t changed much, except maybe only slightly.
NYC is known as the city that never sleeps. To me, though, after countless strange encounters, I must say I consider it the city where weird is normalized. Of course, it’s good to have different types of personalities out there. The world would be boring if we were all the same. But I guess everyone has a limit to how much “weirdness” they can handle in their lives. I think I’m also probably extra sensitive when I am out of my comfort zone.
NYC is a city of possibilities, but Times Square was the tip of the iceberg for me. It’s a place you want to see if you go to NYC. I do think it looked amazing at night, but it was way too overwhelming to me. Such a crowded place with all the noise, the lights, and the massive number of people – it was definitely too much for me.
While I can see the hype, I guess I’ll never change on that point. NYC isn’t for me.