I dreamed of New York for years before I actually made it there.

And when I was fortunate enough to finally visit, I found it was not as I had anticipated. The city did not twinkle all the time. In fact, only a few parts of it did, and we had to seek them out.

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I enjoyed the city, but I soon learned that finding loveliness in New York took a lot of energy. And even though I was only in my twenties at the time, I didn’t know if I had the stamina.

But I kept going back. I didn’t want to give up on a city I had dreamed about for so long. Yes, huge portions of it were filthy and crowded. It was easy to dismiss them, and for a long time, I did.

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But time passed. I realized that the New York of my dreams didn’t exist, but a living, breathing city did.

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And soon, I began to see it for what it really was. I saw beauty in the grit. I saw poetry in every rusted bolt.

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And once I started to see that, the city began to twinkle, all over again.

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Comments (16)

  1. 1
    Natalcho says:

    True – some places in this world make you work harder than others, they are not easy on you and you have to put in the effort. I always felt that way about NYC but having just come back from Vietnam I can now say that NYC seems to be a relaxing, clean and organized place. Everything is relative and I absolutely loved Vietnam by the way:)

  2. 2
    weezafish says:

    So true. We must stop and smell the city streets sometimes. Er, okay maybe not. But you get me.

  3. 3
    Lane says:

    Over-hype has ruined so many places for us. Sometimes, its better to just sit with coffee on a bench and let the city come to you.

  4. 4

    I lived in NYC for a couple of years and love it so much more now, post-inhabitance, than I did during my residency. I think it made me appreciate it more for all its difficulties, annoyances and less-than-shiny spots.

  5. 5
    Rebecca says:

    I’ve never been but I’m hoping to visit by the end of the year!

  6. 6
    Jacqueline says:

    I have been living in New York for almost six years and truly believe it is the best city in the world! Only in the depth of winter, surrounded by bitter cold and snow, do I sometimes second guess myself. And then I see Central Park turned into a winter wonderland and think…God, I love New York.

  7. 7
    Erika Awakening says:

    Hi, I’m new to your blog and really enjoying the posts. This one brought back the memory of first stepping foot in New York City, my virgin trip. What I remember most is the feeling of the energy of the City, and being able to have a gorgeous three course meal with spectacular wine at 3 am in the morning after a late arrival. It’s the buzzing, zinging energy that I remember most. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. 8
    Eric - EUDestinations says:

    I lived in lower Manhattan for almost 3 years and loved everything about the city besides the sewage smell on certain streets in the summer time.

  9. 9
    Christina M says:

    I thought the same thing the first time I visited New York – I thought it was dirty, smelly, and crowded. But, I was an ungrateful teenager at the time, so..

  10. 10
    Matt says:

    I feel the exact same way. I hated New York the first time and the two visits since have shown me a better side of the city. Tokyo is the same way…though I am still looking for its charms.

  11. 11
    Tessa says:

    I lived in NYC for six years and still have a love/hate relationship with the city. One of the things that keeps the love in that relationship is the hidden beauty that you find in the most unexpected of places. Not many of cities can pull that off the way NYC does.

  12. 12
    Bekka says:

    I love this. So happy I moved here.

  13. 13

    All those who are unhappy with NYC, switch places. A billion people are waiting outside the gates. A city is made epic by the dreams people invest in them and stories that are built around it. These are places where a few things can happen, which will be impossible in any other part of the old. Mumbai in India is known as the city of dream… the number of rags to riches stories this city has produced is truly incredible. So, the magic is very real.

  14. 14
    Karrie says:

    Right on time..My first visit to New York is next week..:) and I have some Anticipations….

  15. 15
    Ashley says:

    Nicely put! I love the idea of finding beauty within the simplicity and recognizing the story behind a city!

  16. 16
    Kitty says:

    I had the same feeling with Paris. I saw its true beauty on my third trip.
    As for NYC we didn’t find it a lovely city but we grasped its awesomeness the moment we exited the airport and hopped on one of those yellow cabs. After that,a whole week of virtually not sleeping followed, we wished our bodies ran on rechargeable batteries!
    Such an incredible city! I’ll live there in another life ;)

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