New York belongs to many people. To many many MANY people.
And it also belongs to me.
I've been coming to New York City since I was a kid. I believe I was two on my first visit. I don't remember anything from that visit, obviously, but the next visits at age 4, and then 10, and then 17 and then 18 are stored in my memory forever. She left a stamp on me early on, the city that never sleeps. Even after living in her for a decade - and knowing full well she DOES in fact sleeps sometimes, New York City had my heart. Had my soul. Had the entirety of my 20s. I became a person in New York City. I began growing up in New York City. I practiced my resilience in New York City. My savviness, my will power, my discipline, my social skills, my sales-womanship, my teaching talents, my crafts-womanship, my business sense, my artistic sense. I fell in love in New York City. More than once. More than twice. I adopted cats in New York City. I learned about America in New York City. I made friends. I made haters. I made mentors in New York City. I lived. I loved. I laughed. I struggled. I won. I lost. I was broke and it didn't matter, because I was in the city I was addicted to. Every step away from my New York City - I missed her. I craved her. I felt fomo. I felt withdrawals. The winters didn't bother me, no matter how bothersome they were. The small apartments didn't bother me, even when my room was a closet without a window. Even when I had to lower my head to shower. Even then. None of it mattered - because I was in love. I was in love with New York City, until one day I wasn't. I still loved her and found her charming and grand and inspirational and sexy... but she started irritating me a bit. I no longer had the patience to deal with her crazies, and with her clogged subways, and with her noise, and snowy winters, and bitterness and pace. The concrete jungle that once was my sanctuary - became my source of annoyance. My kryptonite. My prison.
So I boldly took my life apart and left her. Said my goodbye in a true NYC fashion and headed to the city of angels instead. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew my chapter with New York City wasn't over. It could never be over. Because she belongs to me, with all her charm and all her not-so-charming self. She and I are eternally connected. Like my home away from home that will always be there, on simmer, in the background, reminding me that this is a home that MADE me. And that's not a fling or a romance. That's for life.
My New York isn't a love story. It's a life story.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman