It occurred to me that I have never taken a vacation in New York.
I had never visited before I moved there, and then spent 11 years learning how to become a New Yorker. Dropping my hint of an accent, learning the acceptable boundaries of being rude and pushy and nice concurrently in order to get what you want, dodging and being dodged on a busy sidewalk, navigating the subway through many boroughs, eating my way around the countless cultures that call the city home, bullshitting my way into clubs and jobs, making friends, keeping friends, dropping friends. Living in a shoebox, and being grateful for it. I feel like this was where my life's education happened, and it has changed me and influenced me as only New York can.
Still. I stand by my decision to have left. Going through numerous tragedies and events in the city makes you aware of how vulnerable a series of sea-level islands, connected to the mainland by only bridges and tunnels and heavily reling on underground trains to carry the masses might be. From overseas, I watched two summer blockbusters in which the city served as the backdrop for terrible happenings. True, otherworldly beings might not be opening a portal over Grand Central anytime soon, and a 'roided super villain probably wouldn't get away with such a complex plot to hold all of gotham hostage with a nuclear divice.
Watching the real destruction of real places when a hurricane hits from my comfortable perch thousands of miles away was hard. These were places I knew all too well, and everyone I knew was affected.
The city seemed a bit somber, but a month after the storm, most of Manhattan had returned to its usual self.
We worked out a nice apartment swap deal with a co-worker and ended up with a very posh studio right near Washington Square Park.
Having lived in Brooklyn for the last four years of my time in the city, I was suddenly not horribly inconvenienced by the still-recovering subway system and I could pretty much walk to anything.
The urban pine forest made for a pleasant olfactory break.
The city seemed so familiar to me in so many ways. The same bars and shops and restaurants, exactly how I remembered them in the same quirky maze of streets in the West Village.
Now I am a tourist here.
It was most enjoyable. It's exactly what I want to be.