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That magical thing is...

New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
3,057 posts
45 reviews
That magical thing is...

Ok, new game for the locals that the visitors will surely appreciate.

What's the one thing you love most about NYC, the one little bit of fantasy that makes you appreciate NYC deep inside? Not the thing that you would tell someone else that they have to see before they leave, but the thing YOU love, the experiences that keeps you putting up with so many of the indignities that are part of life in a big, complex, expensive, challenging city.

For me, for a long time, it was that one week - not even a full week - when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, and if I catch it right, and am walking around the Reservoir when the leaves are falling in front of me, behind me, on me, and the sun is shining on and bouncing off the water, it's walking through enchantment. I don't catch it every year, especially since I moved downtown, so that's not my one thing anymore.

Then I would have said Manhattanhenge, not just for the incredible view of the sun setting, but rather, watching jaded New Yorkers stopping in the middle of the street...no, racing out when the traffic light changes, to stand in the middle of the east-west streets and the masses all holding up their phones to catch that one moment as the light of the sun is fading but is centered directly through the buildings. Watching the joy of we creatures formed from concrete and shaped by greasy halal fumes stop our quest for the next great margarita to honor the transient confluence of nature and the city grid for that one fleeting second when the fire hits the horizon - that's when I fall in love with New Yorkers again.

But my number one thing I love is the random mini affairs you have with kindred spirits. I had one of those on the subway yesterday, around 2:20 in the afternoon. After waiting in that awful, steam-weighted air on the platform, the train doors opened and I braced for the impact of the cold air and slid into a seat facing a woman all in black, carrying a stunning straw bag...I caught her eye and conversation ensued:

Woman 1: I love your bag! It's so chic!

Woman 2: Zara!

Woman 1: Really? Wow, it's the perfect bag.

Woman 2: Love your shoes.

Woman 1: Manolo

Woman 2: (nodding, slight knowing smile). And your bracelet...I have it in black and gold..but I don't know...

Woman 1: I love the black and gold! And you can wear it all year.

Woman 2: Well, the gold is kind of too yellow, and I couldn't wear it on a day like today...yours is perfect for today..

Woman 1: I know...so hot.

Woman 2: And frizzy (with a shrug of her shoulders, with hair that was perfectly sleek...PERFECTLY).

Woman 1: Living Proof...the products are great, even if they're a little pricey...

Train pulling into the station...

Woman 1: Bye, enjoy your day

Woman 2: You too, stay cool.

Woman 1: You too.

Eyes meet, longing goodbye of two women who know that they would be friends under more permanent circumstances...or not...but share a certain understanding of....things.

I love that about NYC.

And I cheated. I said one thing but I gave you three. And all free. But, as they say, timing is everything.

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101 replies to this topic
Southern NJ
Level Contributor
1,720 posts
128 reviews
1. Re: That magical thing is...

My first thing is the feeling I get when I walk into Times Square. I know it’s a touristy thing that locals hate but, I feel a special sense of awe. I really feel like yelling at the top of my lungs what Eddie Murphy yelled in the movie Coming to America (“Good Morning, my neighbors”). Don’t ask me why.

I feel a certain amount of excitement thinking that people from all over the world are there.

My last magical thing is when I look at the Statue of Liberty. With all of our faults, we are still the country people flock to.

Edited: 07 August 2018, 21:29
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
3,057 posts
45 reviews
2. Re: That magical thing is...

That’s an interesting point, Mike about Times Square. I suppose it’s the way Parisians feel about the Eiffel Tower vs the way tourists do.

And yes, the SoL is so moving to see from above.

Buffalo, New York
Level Contributor
467 posts
1 review
3. Re: That magical thing is...

I know I’m not local, but adding to SoL talk, I love how you can see it from many different areas in the city. The southern tip of battery park, the high line, the Brooklyn bridge, were 3 of the areas we caught a glimpse of lady liberty, granted we had to zoom our camera a touch, but still super cool and we didn’t even go to the actual island.

And glad this thread is back!

New York, New York
Level Contributor
14,061 posts
115 reviews
4. Re: That magical thing is...

On the Staten Island ferry heading to Manhattan. Beautiful, clear day, wind in your hair, facing the skyscrapers, boat steady and churning, sea spray in your face... and wondering what your ancestors must have felt when they were journeying from so far away to change their lives on the shores of the best city in the world.

Southern NJ
Level Contributor
1,720 posts
128 reviews
5. Re: That magical thing is...

And to see the Statue with her torch lit at dusk or at night is extremely stirring.

I’m glad it’s back too. Not sure why it was deleted before.

Edited: 09 August 2018, 00:47
Groton, Connecticut
Level Contributor
3,033 posts
188 reviews
6. Re: That magical thing is...

I’ll never forget getting out of a Subway station with a friend of mine going to AMNH and told him how I knew where were going. Walked out and got a great closeup pic of the Empire State Building! Oops. Totally wrong way but great pic. Found a good coffee shop and made our way back to AMNH.

Astoria, New York
Level Contributor
20,225 posts
7. Re: That magical thing is...

Glad this thread got reopened

I think the sense of camaraderie - which your encounter on the subway attests to - in both casual more serious situations.

Not sure this is unique to NYC, but I do attribute some of it to the fact that we are all pedestrians (not isolated in cars) in a place where people know (expletive) happens.

I've seem joggers chase down and capture purse snatchers (don't worry folks, it was the 80"s) and do lots of other acts of kindness large and small because we all know in certain way we're all in this together.

I did an ad-hoc carpool with complete strangers during the last subway strike. Picked them up at a rideshare spot in my neighborhood. Everyone in my office made it into work - including some who had to walk from Brooklyn to midtown - except, oddly, the only other car owner in our group (but she's another story and not a travel topic)

Still love some of the "postcard places", but my fellow New Yorkers are the key.

Sheffield, United...
Level Contributor
1,728 posts
8. Re: That magical thing is...


Edited: 09 August 2018, 01:08
New York City, New...
Destination Expert
for New York City
Level Contributor
3,057 posts
45 reviews
9. Re: That magical thing is...

I don’t know who reported or why it was shut down but so appreciative of you all for your posts.

There is something magical about how New Yorkers relate to each other and come together when important. We don’t have the chance to build the kind of community small towns do, but even as strangers, we support each other.

Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
109 posts
4 reviews
10. Re: That magical thing is...

One of my favorite most magical places/moments is Coney Island. Taking the subway to the beach. The idea that everyone can take a "day vacation" for the cost of a subway ride. Then sitting on the beach listening to about 50 different languages. It's like no other beach experience. Everyone happy enjoying their day. And the inevitable lost child. No one speaks the others language, but everyone speaks "lost child" and watching so many people helping a child find their parents on the beach. That is always magical to me. It's a continuation of the camaraderie.

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