I Love You, New York –– You're Perfect, Don't Change | Tracy's New York Life | A New York City Lifestyle + Travel Blog Tracy's New York Life | Best Lifestyle, Culture, and Travel Blog in NYC

I Love You, New York –– You're Perfect, Don't Change

by Tracy Kaler
Times Square in 1982. {Photo credit}
New York, don't change a thing. You're perfect just the way you are. Well, at least you were perfect, or you seemed so, for a minute. I struggle with the ongoing changes in this ever-evolving city, which at times, happen on almost a daily basis. In reality, New York City is a town that can never be tied down.

On one hand, the constant state of flux, unstoppable energy, unmatched growth, and ability to move forward and reinvent itself no matter the obstacles, are why many of us choose to live in New York. Alternatively, at times, I'd like to find comfort when I walk down a block in five years and the street looks the same as today. But in NYC, that's rare.

For a minute, I'll compare New York to a romantic relationship. I've searched my entire life for the (almost) perfect mate (or place to live), and maybe, although not for everyone, this person (city) is my match. I have made a commitment, for better or worse, I will love my mate forever. Now, I just need to keep it right here in the perfect spot, because if it does indeed change, I won't love it the same. This scenario isn't practical for couples –– perhaps that's why the divorce rate is so high, but it's also not reasonable for NYC.
New York is a wild child. The city not only has a desire to change, but to experiment, fail, succeed, thrive, get better, worse, and then start all over again. The city knows no bounds. NYC moves at lightning speed, rests for mere minutes in the wee hours of the morning each day but never sleeps, only to swiftly resume the humming and buzzing many New Yorkers take for granted, or no longer notice because they've lived in Manhattan too long.

I've written about how I'm not too thrilled with the direction of my neighborhood. We have too many banks, cell phone stores, and meaningless retailers that I'll never use, and landlords care about nothing more than collecting the highest dollar possible. Here's an example.

Back in 2013, the legendary Big Nick's on Broadway closed its doors. I, like other West Siders, was saddened by this news. I'm even sadder about the reason for the closing –– the rent would've increase to $60,000 per month, and Nick Imirziades couldn't afford a $20,000 increase. He was paying $40,000 per month for 1,000 square feet, and he couldn't pay more.
I miss this divey restaurant and the delicious food –– Big Nick's was an iconic spot in the heart of the Upper West Side. Every time I walk by, I remember Nick and the day I interviewed him. I feel bitter, but need to remind myself –– this is New York. Things change.

Present-day New York City offers cleaner and safer streets, and possesses little grit and less moxie. Mom-and-Pop stores have closed, and more chains have opened. Meanwhile, some things haven't changed much at all. NYC still inspires. That same energy I was drawn to so many years ago is still alive and more unstoppable than ever. Knowing that millions of people are here today to become someone or something that perhaps they couldn't be most anywhere else –– well, that alone is astonishing.

In this city, dreams still come true and hearts still break. Newcomers arrive seeking the unknown and impossible, and natives depart to explore the world beyond the five boroughs. A 50-year-old business shuts down, and a new one sets up. That new business will one day be 10, 25, or 50 too. And then the cycle starts over.

Like many, I hold on to the once seedier but almost perfect city from the past, and not that block or neighborhood that has changed three, four, five, or ten times in 30 years. As challenging as it is, change in this city is a reality. I cling to as many pieces of the past as I can, trying so desperately to remember the finite details of life here long ago –– a town comprised mostly of artists, musicians, dancers, actors, writers, and eccentric souls. A town where creativity seeped its way through the thousands of pores that make up this crazy yet phenomenal place. The city that I fell hopelessly in love with....
Midtown Manhattan in the 1980s. {Photo credit}

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