When can you officially call yourself a “New Yorker”?
When you start commuting to a job in the Big Apple?
When you move into your first tiny apartment?
When you start calling this crazy, vibrant, and non-stop city home?
I am not sure.
I have always been a Jersey Girl. And no, not like Snooki from Jersey Shore thank you very much. Instead, I am the Jersey Girl that always wants a pork roll egg and cheese and didn’t learn how to pump gas until she went away to college in a different state. I always dreamed about moving to a big city, (like New York, Sydney, or Paris) one day. Now that I am living in Manhattan, I am not sure when I can officially qualify as a New Yorker. There are many things about New York that I love, and many that I could do without. Every day I find more things to add to this growing Pro/Con list. The summertime weather has been so positive in a lot of ways. Walking home through Central Park and sitting at the Sailboat Pond is the perfect way to unwind from a day couped up inside. I love that I can adventure more throughout the city without worry about the weather. That being said, summer in the city can be a little brutal. The subway is always filled to capacity and there is practically no air flow, all you feel are squished sweaty bodies. Moments like these make me want to run as fast as I can to the nearest beach/river/NATURE just to escape it.
A few weeks back I had a pretty uneventful weekend and decided to walk to Central Park. After wandering along a few smaller paths lined with massive trees, I came across the Great Lawn. For anyone who feels suffocated by the skyscrapers and intensity of New York I truly cannot recommend the Great Lawn (and Sheep Meadow for the matter!) enough! The moment I stepped onto the Great Lawn I felt this strange wave of comfort wash over me. I saw several baseball diamonds filled with kids of all ages playing in a Little League Tournament. I don’t think I had even considered that I was homesick before that moment. Something about watching these families cheer on their kids running the bases, reminded me of home like nothing else in this city has since I moved here. Sometimes Manhattan can be so intense and it was nice to feel connected to something that is so familiar to me and my childhood. I sat on a bench for almost two hours, just soaking in the sun, and relishing in this feeling of family, community, and weekend sporting events. Core components of my own childhood in New Jersey. As I walked back home I felt refreshed in a way I hadn’t in weeks. It was like an escape from the madness of New York without actually paying for a train ticket back to the suburbs.
Although this little trek in the park was only blocks away from my apartment I have found myself heading back home every few weekends. 4th of July weekend was the perfect break and I am really looking forward to heading home again this weekend for a concert with a friend. Especially in the summer, I feel this need every few weeks to just leave Manhattan behind. Whenever I arrive back in my hometown I feel like I can finally breathe. There is so much natural light in my childhood home, grass is everywhere, and I feel more connected to the rest of the world. Sometimes in New York I feel like I am living in this bubble, which is ironic given that this is the city that everyone in the world dreams about visiting. The bubble feeling is also how I used to describe Bucknell, so now I am starting to wonder whether or not I even know what a “bubble” truly is…
I think that deep down I will always be a suburbs kid at heart. Talking with my cousin Casey poolside over 4th of July weekend we discussed everything from careers to marriage to where we want to live one day and our ideal home. I have lots of different ideas of where I hope to end up one day, but I do have one fantasy that I cannot shake. My dream would be to live in a beautiful New England home, that is either white or brick with black/dark blue shutters and a bright red front door (There is just something about a red front door!). That to me just screams classic family home and what I would love to come home to every day. That being said, it is just a real estate fantasy. I don’t plan on leaving New York anytime soon, but I cannot imagine living in this crazy city for the rest of my life. This is something I never would have said back when I was growing up in NJ, but maybe the truth for me is, “once a suburbs kid, always a suburbs kid”.
New York City has been a wonderful home these past few months and I definitely do not plan on leaving anytime soon, but I know that there will come a day when I say “Okay, I’ve had enough” just like I’ve seen many of my favorite bloggers do in the past few months (*cough* Mackenzie, Jess, & Hallie *cough*). But for right now, all I want to know is when that flip of a switch happens and I can tell people I am a New Yorker. Maybe there is a secret handshake or password I need to learn first? Regardless, this Jersey girl is taking her time becoming an official New Yorker.