Empire

   

Sometimes it completely baffles me how a southern gal like me could be in so in love with a city like this. Maybe its in the name - New York City - kind of cheesy and crowded with tourists and I *heart* NY t-shirts. But for me its something different, its an epicenter of inspiration and lust. I found myself stumbling around this beautiful city not more than a week ago, bundled in layers ready to face the blistering and torturous cold of that frigid Valentine's Day weekend. Something then just clicked, I am literally 100% beyond in love with this city, bagels aside. Why?

1. New York City is a place where dreams come to bloom, or to die. But in either case it's not the end result in which I am in love with ... its the part of ambition that I like. Its the blinding sense of not caring what the outcome is, the action is simply being done out of passion. Just standing, facing the track and listening to the whirring of the subway past me got me thinking - everyone is here because they are doing something that they love. The energy is something that cannot even be put into words, its just something that one has to breathe in and feel. The energy is inspiring. 

2. As a self-diagnosed art freak New York City is the perfect place to come to look for a cure. Of course I have done my fair share of time in the MoMA practically in tears that I am standing just before Van Gogh's Starry Night (classic), Picasso's Les Demoiselles d' Avignon or Rothko's No. 3 or No. 13, but what amazes me about the city is that everything is art. I have visited both in the summer and the dead of winter, and at both times there is nothing that is more amazing than seeing how the people dress - art in the form of fashion. A few summers ago what was à la mode was sleep camisoles, ripped boyfriend jeans and dainty d'Orsay heels. This past winter was Adidas Superstar sneaks or Stuart Weizmann over the knee boots snuggled with a J. Crew coat with fur lining the hood.  I always come back from the city gleaming with inspiration from the fashion and when I am in the city I like to try out the fashion. Case in point, the New Yorker in me bought a pair of Adidas sneaks and trekked all over the city in them. Now that I am in South Carolina, it's a little tricky pairing these edgy shoes with my soft, southern style. I have no regrets. I can't forget to mention Broadway. Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Lion King and many others that I have under my shows I have seen list. This past time I saw an off Broadway show and I could not tell you what it was about to save my life. Blue Man Group was completely different than anything that I have ever seen before. But even though I literally cannot tell you what it was about, I loved it. This sort of ambiguity from the show is what I think made it part of my most loved New York experiences ever. Everything about the city is art - the rushing people, the flow of traffic, the man playing his saxophone on the subway, the cooperate dame on the arm of her Armani-suited Wall Street beau, the small Italian restaurant that has been making the same family recipes for over 50 years - everything. 

3.  While New York has a claim of the cultural capital of the United States; juxtaposed, in this city I have never felt more proud to be an American. Deep in the heart of the financial district, just below the soaring 1 World Trade Center rests the reflecting pools and museum of the Twin Towers. Inside the huge museum, a respectful hush falls upon the visitors. While the place is big enough to hold a rock concert, it is almost as if though visitors left their voices with their coats at the check in. Every person here seeks to connect to this moment in American history. Some have loved ones who's lives were lost that fateful day, some are foreign tourists interested in the twisted scraps of metal that came from the fall of the amazing architectural feat, and me? I was looking for closure. I was only three years old on September 11th and the only thing I remember about that day was my mom picking me up from pre-school early and taking me home. I have never truly felt the power of this day in American history until then. Something clicked, but I have never loved my country more since that day. This still young country has been through a lot, seen a lot and helped other a lot. But in times of domestic struggle, my country comes together as one, a world power fallen for a day. The humility of my country is why I love this country. What a great place to call home - the land of Washington and crazy politics, the place where you can see famous artists from all over the world and see artists on the street sketching ongoing people, the country of bizarre food combinations and super sized meals but the one fully plunging forward in the juice cleanse and yoga classes. This country is full of juxtapositions and contrasts. This city has made me realize why I love being an American. 

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