I went to New York for a night and a day yesterday, and concluded, as I had long known, that The City is just way cooler than I am. I can be almost vaguely cool in a DC way, wearing Chuck Taylors in a city of penny loafers, but New York City is far over my head. Everyone seems so distinctively themselves, so committed to their own individuality and style, whether it be heartbreakingly fashionable or creepily weird. My friend Rachel has actually managed to memorize the avenues – “If you walk east on Second, its Third, then Lexington, Madison, Fifth…” or whatever – something I have always thought meant you were a real New Yorker.
A real New Yorker. NYC is also deeply obsessed with its own distinctiveness – have you ever heard someone ask what makes you a real Bostonian? A real Portlander (Portlandian?)? New York, and New Yorkers, are all, whether they like it or not, try-hards.
But maybe that’s just my jealousy masquerading as cynicism. I’m too scared to try making it in New York, to try that hard, all the time. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere, they say, but what if you can make it anywhere but you can’t make it there? Does it even count? Being skinny and successful in Portland is fine and all, but its not New York thin.
I saw Anna when I was there, who said that she, despite having finished four years of undergraduate college and having lived in New York City for a year now, is still really intimidated by NYU freshmen. Tiny humans, trying hard, making it in the Big Apple. Maybe. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of!