My Love Letter to New York City

October 1, 2012

For the past few months I had been writing my October Newsletter in my head. It was going to be my love letter to New York City as a farewell because October was my anticipated moving date to western North Carolina. I wrote about my change of mind, heart (and gut) here as you might recall, and about my decision to stay in NY for at least another year.

It’s not that I’ve become deaf or blind to the crazy energy in the city which was getting me down, but I followed my intuition and was instantly rewarded with a fresh set of rose-colored glasses with which to view my beloved NYC again. Hence, “My Love Letter to New York City”.  So here goes…

Dear NYC,

What is it about you that brings people here? There are those who were born and raised here and can’t imagine leaving, and then there are those, like me, who were drawn to you like a magnet. You welcome artists and free spirits with open arms. I came here with a hurting heart and a sick body over a decade ago. You helped put me back together and make me whole again. You introduced me to like-minded people and you nurtured my independence. You woke me up.

I think I love the diversity in this city more than anything. There aren’t many places in this country where a 5’2” white gal can walk down the street holding hands with her 6’ black partner and not raise an eyebrow. We did get a lot of smiles, however. I take it for granted until I travel and see just how rare it really is. Yours is truly a melting pot, NYC, and in my neighborhood, we have some of the most beautiful children you will ever see. We have interracial couples of every conceivable combination and their children are the best example of how we are all the same on the inside.

And speaking of neighborhoods, NYC, it’s something that outsiders often don’t understand. I love how you are divided into many different areas, each with its own special vibe. My neighborhood, Tribeca, like many areas has seen lots of change over the years. It used to be packed with artists, was super-quiet and sometimes a little scary at night, but now it’s become affluent and teeming with young families. You know your neighborhood is attracting attention when they name a car after it! Still, it’s home for me and everyone seems to manage to co-exist. The old-timers with the new, the wealthy and the not-so-wealthy all share the beautiful parks, the markets, shops and schools. I may not live in a small town, but I know the names of the people working in the stores and restaurants and the farmers at my local market. You are like an island made up of many small towns.

I love that you treasure green. People call you the concrete jungle, but you have 843 acres of green space (Central Park) smack dab in the middle of your island! That’s 6% of your entire acreage. Every time I see it from the air, I am still in awe. New Yorkers love their parks. I love Central Park, but dearer to my heart is the Hudson River Park which runs for miles along your western shore. It keeps me sane on an almost daily basis. I can walk there in 10 minutes, ride my bike in under five.

The Statue of Liberty stands guard in NY Harbor, there are magnificent sunsets over Jersey City (hi neighbor!) and miles and miles of biking/walking paths, green lawns, trees galore, playgrounds and lots and lots of interesting people and dogs. Oh yeah, and the occasional fireworks that just happen when you least expect it. You love to surprise us, don’t you NYC? Ralph and I would be comfortably settled in watching a movie on a summer night and boom! we would hear that familiar sound. We would hop on our bikes (sometimes in our pjs) and race down by the water to see the show. We were never certain what it was we were supposed to be celebrating. One time we found out the fireworks were for someone’s 50th birthday. Only in NYC, as they say.

When the noise and pollution of the city gets me down, I hop on my bike and go sit by the water under my favorite tree. It may take a little more effort to stay grounded in your city, but it’s possible because you fiercely love green!

In Ayurveda, NYC, you would be called Vata (high energy, lots of movement). I think that’s probably what drew me to you in the first place. I have a lot of Vata energy and like increases like so I have to be mindful and visit your green spaces daily for a little R&R.

Have I mentioned how much I love not needing a car? You have fantastic transportation options–three airports, mass transit, you’re becoming more and more bike-friendly and oh, how I love to be able to walk places! I can walk to my doctor’s office, to the market, and to the health food store around the corner. And best of all– I can walk to the movies! I can hop on a train or bus and be in upstate NY in no time at all. Mountains, woods, hiking trails, rivers, lakes and waterfalls – they’re all just a short ride away. This is something I’ve promised myself to do more of since I decided not to move to beautiful western North Carolina.

I even love your four seasons, NYC. In spring, everyone pours out of the buildings to enjoy the warmer weather. The outdoor cafes open no matter the date–as long as the weather is nice, the tables are out. Good moods abound.

In summer a lot of your residents leave town. It’s a good time to explore the city like a tourist. I don’t mean to glamorize summer here – it can be downright oppressive during the hot summer days. But it has its pros, too. Lots of free concerts, fireworks and the like. You just have to go with the flow.

And fall, well that’s my favorite season here. The minute the weather cools, the people cool down as well. Everything seems rejuvenated. Central Park is beyond beautiful and even in the city, the air feels a little bit fresher.

And last, but not least is winter. Sigh. About the only thing I can say about winter here is that it’s fun when we get a big snowstorm–but only the first day, when the snow is fresh and the city is silent. Traffic stops and parents pull their kids on sleds in the deserted streets. I’m big on hibernating, so it doesn’t get to me like a lot of other New Yorkers. Oh wait, I forgot! The holidays here in NYC are spectacular! Who doesn’t love a 75-foot twinkling tree with happy ice skaters below?

Oh, NYC, I could go on and on. A big hug and a kiss to you and I’ll be here for at least another year!



  1. Beautiful job, Barbara — your sparkle comes right through your words. Clearly NYC loves you right back, as do I. See you real soon!

  2. Thanks, Nancy! Yes, see you real soon! xoxo

  3. I Love this ode to NYC Barbara — thank you so much! We lived in a tiny apartment in the west 70’s for several years just after we got married, and will never forget the love fest that went on in the early 70’s. Even though destiny carved out a special place for us in Cambridge MA, we will always treasure The City (there is only ONE).

  4. Elizabeth Rodriguez October 1, 2012 at 5:50 pm Reply

    Well Barbara, savor your final year as if it were your first. Explore all the places you have not explored and experience the new. Also visit your old haunts and feel your connections. I travel back to NYC often because I truly can never say goodbye permanently and never will. NYC has a way with embedding itself deep into our being. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker!

    And so we are blessed!

    Elizabeth Rodriguez
    Gotham City’s Child

  5. Hey Barbara, thanks for the mini-vacation! Beautifully stated. Anne

  6. You’re welcome, Anne! Good luck with the Open House. xoxo

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