Piles of ice. Snow falling atop dirty snow. Fourteen degrees on a good day. The time of year has come when we Northerners start to threaten the permanency of our lives above the Mason-Dixon line.
It seems not a day goes by without talk of the weather.
“I need to get out of here”
“I’m moving to Florida”
“Remind me why I live in New York, again?”
Whether it’s careers, family ties, or the social scene, we all have our reasons for living in a particular place. And, as March rolls in, I cannot help but think about this great city of New York, and all the reasons why baring the bitter weather makes living here worth it.
We all know New York City offers a plethora of sites and attractions. On any given day, we have the option to visit Broadway shows, shopping strips, museums, beaches, markets, concerts, sporting events or comedy routines. We have more restaurants and bars than most locals will visit in a lifetime.
But, this is only part of what I love about New York.
I love this city because, when I want an escape from the world, I can hibernate for weeks on end with only the delivery man knowing I’m home.
I can run Saturday errands that lead to impromptu trips to watch the sun set atop the Empire State Building, which I did with a girlfriend last month.
I love New York City because, as a traveler at heart, I always and easily have new places to explore.
Perhaps my favorite of all this city’s treasures are its delis, food carts and bodegas. Delis are a staple part of New York’s service industry, but beyond their fixings, I find they’re one of the most comforting and reliable parts of this great city.
While clientele may vary throughout neighborhoods, the deli basics are similar across the board: coffee, $2 breakfast sandwiches, a random assortment of potato chips (usually comparably priced to the breakfast sandwiches), and no-bullshit employees.
In a city that can be overwhelming, expensive and exhausting, I find a sense of ease walking into these usually chaotic establishments. I know what to expect. And, I know the line cooks are already preparing my order before I open my mouth to place it – with hot sauce on the sandwich and milk in the coffee, hold the sugar.
Perhaps I should not be so proud that a near-stranger knows me well enough to memorize what I eat every day. But, then, these workers are no longer strangers at all. They are my familiar faces in a city of 8.5 million people.
When the snow is piled to my knees and my car lodged in 16 inches of ice, I remember that these are the reasons I love this city. It can be lonely here, but I never have an excuse to be bored. Winter can be long, but spring is ahead. The days are becoming lighter, and the temperatures are slowly returning to a the warmer thirties and forties. Around here, that can be a heatwave.
This is a jungle of go-getters. It can be competitive, aggressive, and cut-throat. But, stroll along Brooklyn’s historic brownstones or Astoria’s waterfront for an hour, and you will find yourself breathing freely again.
And, if that doesn’t work, get a coffee from the deli. The employees will be grateful that you did.