New York State Of Mind

View on Manhatten from DUMBO

There is no doubt in my mind, that I will end up living in New York at some point in my life. The question is really “when”, not “if”.

Why? It’s not an unreasonable question. Especially not towards somebody who now lives in Berlin and enjoys his life here, in the center of a city that is for many – but especially for those who are not living here – the epicenter of cool these days.

It’s not an easy question to answer for me. There is a variety of aspects. I have family there, but than again my parents and my brother are in Germany and they don’t have any plans to tag along to New York.

The most important reason would be: the spirit of the city. New York is many, many things, but most importantly it’s the capital of possibilities. On my way back from New Orleans to Germany, I had a stopover in New York which was fortunately long enough so that I had the time to spend it with friends hanging out in Brooklyn. And while we’ve been sitting in the River Park, glancing over to Manhattan, it all came pouring into me: this is indeed the place where dreams come true.

Now, you could (and should) argue that I’m probably only behaving like a little boy who has a crush on a girl. Partially, this might even be true. And while I don’t like where the US is heading right now, you have to know – as every true New Yorker will tell you: New York is not the USA.

There is no city in the world, that has the grace, the compassion and the attitude to allow over 200 different languages to be spoken in its borders. New York is the place where people arrived to start something new and they still do it. Every day. It’s hard to catch it with words and it took me many, many trips to the Big Apple to realize the fact, that it’s not only the bars, the restaurants, the architecture that is so appealing to me. It is this sense of endless possibility that is so striking and invigorating.

I could go on and on about New York about all the places you should visit and about how undecided I am, if I would rather live in the Lower East Side, in Williamsburg or maybe Green Point. But that’s really not what this is about.

(On another note: If you’re not convinced, try going to New York and just let the city breath into you. Don’t close down, don’t go too much uptown, don’t go to the museums. Just try to experience the city. Just walk. For a long, long time. And while at it, try listening to Nas. Especially to New York State Of Mind.)

Jose Parla

Comment [5]

  1. I get how it is, you get flowing about a city, and you say some things that don’t really stand up when taken out of the context of whole piece.

    I think some people, and I include myself in that number, might take issue with the “New York is not the USA” line. Read strictly, I suppose it’s true; it’s a city /in/ the USA, and so it is a part and not the whole. And I know you meant that the politics and ideals of the city tend to be uniformly on one side of the American mean, which I’ll grant you is mostly true. And I’m not a chest-thumper or a flag waver, and I tend to fall on that same side of the American mean. But there are plenty of true New Yorkers who will tell you that in a lot of ways, New York is the USA.

    I agree with a lot of the points you admire about New York, of course. I love the diversity and sense of possibility! I’m just among the people who consider those qualities not to be at odds with those of the country at large, but to exemplify the very best it can aspire to.

    (I really enjoyed this, and don’t want to seem like I’m being hard on you. Looking forward to catching up about New York in person soon :)

    Parker · Mar 24, 10:30 PM · #

  2. very nice posting! cheers!

    — dan · Mar 26, 01:55 PM · #

  3. Parker: New York shares certainly the common denominator with the rest of the country: making things possible (I’m trying to avoid mentioning the American Dream).

    I can’t say, that I travelled a lot in the US – I haven’t been to the west coast yet, to name just a big spot I missed -, but it seems to me that while New York does indeed shares the basic idea of the nation, it’s most certainly approaching it differently from the rest of it. That indeed is what makes the USA so strong and at the same time so vulnerable to … well to something like the Tea Party.

    In a way, there is something very cheesy about New York. But in this cheesiness, there is something pure and romantic. I relate to this very strongly.

    But I do fully get what you mean and we indeed should discuss this in person. Soon. Maybe at The Barn? ,)

    Igor · Mar 26, 03:32 PM · #

  4. Mayor stand-off at the Barn? Can I come watch?

    peter · Mar 26, 03:56 PM · #

  5. I don’t really think of it as a stand-off, because The Barn is rightfully mine. Obviously. But sure, you can come.


    Igor · Mar 26, 05:06 PM · #