The city is in winter mode. The beautiful pristine snow is great when you watch it from a window - snowflakes dancing in the wind veiling everything in white. But up close it is icy and slippery. The arctic winds cam burn your skin and make your eyes tear. You have to bundle up in layers and when you get anywhere indoors you are breaking out in sweat because the heaters are set in sauna temps. Then the snow melts and there is slush everywhere and you have no decent looking pair of leather boots that doesn't have a smear of sodium chloride (or any other salt variation) stain on it.
No wonder everyone is all set to escape the winter in the northeast. Myself included.
"I'm glad I left New York," someone IM'd me a few days ago and I did not know how to respond. True, winter can be a pain but I have never thought about making THAT a reason to leave my most favorite city in the world. A self-confessed Manhattan-centrist, I have always believed that despite and inspite of what makes New York City what it is, there is still so much to love about it.
The public transportation system that will take you anywhere and everywhere at the cost of a Metrocard; the fresh markets at Union Square and other locations that provide fresh fruits, vegs and flowers no matter what the weather; Central Park - beautiful in any weather; $1 dollar books at Strand and other bookstores; $5 hotdog meals at Grey's Papaya; that fruits you can get from the vendor at the streetcorner is fresher and cheaper than what you can get from the grocers; that you can sit in some random pizza place and realize that you are sitting next to some writer/actor/singer/model/politician; that our mayor rides the subways to go to work every day.
And talk about fancy restaurants. Althouogh those network chefs serve their wares here, next to the more preferred local favorites that have been around for many generations. Do people still remember Katz's and the Second Avenue Deli that is no longer on 2nd Avenue?
This city is friendly to the wallet to those who know how to get the good deals. There is TKTS for cheap Broadway shows, matinee movies before lunchtime that charge half the full ticket, year-round pre-fixed meals from high end restaurants, museums that charge "what you can", and then of course there are the many different parades color the city year round.
Winter is a tough time, as it is spring for the pollen sensitive and summer is for those who do not enjoy the humidity. Autumn is a tough time for me because I've always thought of the falling leaves and the dying trees quite a melancholy sight. True, there are times when loving New York is a tough call but this is and will always be the city where I come home to. It is the city that after a long travel, when I look out the window and see the skyscapers from my window seat, makes my heart skip a beat. This is the New York which I love - the same New York that is the city that I share with more than a million others, most of who may feel the same as I do.
written on: 11 January 2009, New York City