On Watch: The Editor's Eye
This Spring Break most of my friends went on luxurious trips across the United States and the Atlantic. My typical boring self, of course, opted to stay at school, binging on Netflix and working for a few extra bucks.
Until my friend texted me: “Hey, are you coming to New York?” Unsure whether I should leave the comfort of my flat college student bed and the warmth of my computer’s fan while watching Netflix, I responded: “See you there.”
Five hours and an almost-bus-accident later, I was there. New York.
I stepped out and walked towards the street. I took the oh-so-unnecessary selfie and off I went to meet my friend.
“HEY, WATCH IT!” screamed a man as he slammed both of his arms on top of a cab.
I stood there in shock, expecting the cab driver to come out and punch the guy. But that didn’t happen. The cab driver instead looked at him, rolled his eyes and sped away. Me, still standing there in shock, heard two guys walk past me and said:
“Welcome to New York.” I smiled and off I went.
Besides the trendy fashion and the powerful people strutting around the City, I noticed something else: diversity—in every sense of the word. Whether in style, personality, race, religion or sexual orientation, people were free. Free to be who they are and what they want to be.
New York is where everything starts. Where immigrants in the 20th century first landed in Ellis Island in pursuit of the American Dream, to small town men and women who want to live a different life. People were just happy in their own skin, something that is so rare in many of the places that I’ve been.
So, being the typical and overly energetic person that I am, I told my friend the next day: “Take me were the action is. I want to feel like a true New Yorker; so don’t take me nowhere near the tourist areas—except the Brooklyn Bridge, of course.”
My friend said alright—so off we went. With my mouth wide-open, Kimmy Schmidt style, I strolled through the streets of Brooklyn and the many different neighborhoods within Manhattan. (I’m still trying to figure out why SoHo is called that.) And I got my local New Yorker fix.
The way people acted amazed me. In New York, people keep to their own business. They don’t stop for anyone or for anything. They are so focused on what they are doing that everything else is irrelevant, trivial and worst of all—boring. This sense of aloofness would spark fear in others. For me, it was intriguing. I’m used to people always stopping and telling me their whole life story. And although that’s nice, I like seeing people focused on whatever they need to do. Like my Brooklyn friend puts it: “Move, I’m late for work.”
This detachment can be easily seen as a negative trait in New Yorkers. But I see it the other way. I think New York teaches you to move on. Everything changes in a matter of a minute. I guess that’s what attracts me to journalism and that city so much. It’s nice to stop once in a while, but it’s better when you’re a part of the action.
So I know when graduation comes—filled with nostalgia and pride—I will walk across that stage waving to my friends and family, and I’ll be ready to move on. Always looking forward and never back. As Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour, says: “On to the next.”
And that’s what I told myself as I left New York this past Sunday. I didn’t want to leave, but with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart I said goodbye to my city—the city where you don’t have to be asleep to dream.
I’ll be back, New York. And when that time comes, I won’t leave.