New York City:  A Microcosm of the World

The gradual but annoyingly persistent sound of the alarm clock pierces through my dream and brings me back to reality.  I sit half-awake, negotiating with myself on whether I should go through with morning rituals or grab another hour of sleep.  Eventually my better instincts win out and I find himself jogging to the gym close to my apartment.  The sky is clear.  The air is warm. Good morning New York City.

I run down Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, past the Jewish Synagogues, the apartment buildings and shops yet to open.  With headphones in, I mentally prepare for a gruelling exercise session but am still intensely aware of the busy intersection of cars zooming by.  “The Boulevard of Death” is the nickname for this major thoroughfare for a reason.  Once the workout is over, I head back, shower, read, eat breakfast and begin the short trek to work in Long Island City, Queens.  As I head to the 71st and Continental subway station, New Yorkers of every shade and hue, culture and ethnicity, background and heritage are all waiting for the express E train to take them to work and school during this rush hour.

As the train approaches, I caution myself on what potentially is waiting for me this morning.  Could it be an empty carriage indicating a not so pleasant smell engulfing that particular car?  Perhaps the familiar older white gentleman showcasing his entertaining but usual magic show routine. Or the catchy musical stylings of the immaculately dressed Latino trio.  Perhaps it’s the Black passionate preacher exclaiming the good news of the gospel and the word of God.  I smile thinking about the beautiful craziness and diversity this city has to offer.  It all just seems normal and inclusive.

“New Yorkers of every shade and hue, culture and ethnicity, background and heritage…it all just seems normal and inclusive.”

I get off the train before entering Manhattan and proceed to the only giant skyscraper in the vicinity.  The thing I like most about Long Island City has actually nothing to do with LIC itself but the clear view that it grants of the beautiful Manhattan skyline across the East River.  I spend many evenings hypnotised, watching the orange hue envelop the city in an almost profound and angelic way.

A view of the New York City Skyline from Long Island City Queens
View of the New York City Skyline from Long Island City Queens

After work, there are a variety of options the city has to offer.  Do I head uptown to Harlem and enjoy a bit of culture in the form of music, literature, and art? How about Midtown drinks with coworkers along 2nd and 3rd avenue at bars whose names seem to change every week? There’s always the choice to head to the borough of my birth, and old University stomping grounds, in Brooklyn to grab some of that famous cheesecake.  I could always stay local and visit the beer gardens in the Astoria neighbourhoods or ride the dollar van to the edge of Queens and visit my family.

Ultimately, I decide to postpone all of this because I believe it can be achieved another day.  I head home, grab some food and retreat for the evening.  I sit on the couch and justify my inaction by thinking about all the time i’ll have in the future to explore this great city, the microcosm of the world.

I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, I think to myself.

Good Night New York City.

What do you like about NYC?

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