Star of stage and the silver screen, that iconic skyline is etched on all of our hearts. Even before I ever set foot on this island I felt there was a place for me here, under the ever watchful eye of the Empire State Building, each night resplendent in a different colored gown reflecting the ever changing moods and whims of the city.
As so many have before me I came here in the hope of finding a better life. In reality moving to New York was like taking a kidney punch from an old friend. I ran towards her with my arms wide open in a loving embrace, only to be stopped in my tracks, left winded and gasping for air.
New York is a city that will bring you to your knees. It will chew you up, spit you out and leave you bleeding on the sidewalk as your fellow man looks dispassionately on. It’s loud, dirty and smelly. There are too many people, too little space. Prices are high, hours are long and the climate is inhospitable for half the year.
Yet New York has become my home in a way that London never was. The packed streets are a daily reminder that this is one of the greatest cities on earth and that everyone wants a piece of the action. The sounds and smells delineate the unique neighborhoods I pass through and make me value all the more the quiet corners that can be found everywhere if you just know where to look. I work hard but in my free time my options are limited only by the scope of my imagination. I experience the turn of the seasons on my daily commute through Central Park as the kaleidoscope of fall gives way to the monochrome majesty of winter.
I have been here for almost three years and it still amazes and surprises me to utter the words ‘I live in New York City’. I can’t shake the sensation that the city is a giant film set, a lavish backdrop which can turn even the most mundane tasks into an adventure. New York still has the power to make my heart skip a beat. I never see myself growing tired of her smile. Like a captive with a bad case of Stockholm syndrome, I have grown to love my tormentor and I continue to pick myself and up open my arms to her again and again.
Moving abroad is hard but leaving family and friends behind can set you free. Liberated from social obligations your time is truly your own and not knowing how long you might stay motivates you to seize opportunities that would have passed you by in a previous life.
For now, I am proud to call myself a New Yorker. This city inspires me to be a better version of myself, experiencing everything she has to offer one New York minute at a time.
About the Author: Emma Walters developed full blown wanderlust after moving to Kuala Lumpur on a whim, a place that at that time she would have struggled to locate on a map. Whilst pretending to be a grown up she was offered a job in New York City where she currently resides, nurturing a secret ambition to open her own cheese shop whilst moonlighting as a guitarist in a heavy metal band.
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