Concrete Jungle where Dreams are Made Of
Originally published on 3-19-11
I am part of a very large extended family and grew up in a very small town, where I had to do my due diligence on who I was smooching because if I wasn’t careful, the poor boy could possibly be related. The town was so small in fact there was: 1 high school, 2 Whataburgers, 1 HEB, and only 27,000 people, everyone knew everyone. I was 5th out of 600+people in my graduating class, and thought, I’m ready for the big time…Austin.
I went to a UT where the school population was almost double my home town population, daunting at first. But after giving it some time, I figured out I could live in a bigger city and get around just fine; in fact, I reveled in the fact that my wings were growing.
Then, I attended graduate school, in an EVEN bigger city. Houston had: more highways, more people, more competition, and more ways to get lost, literally and figuratively, and yet still, I adjusted, made it happen and left the city happy and unscathed.
Maybe, just maybe I’ll stretch it, one more time, to New York City.
I’m not sure if one posses grit before they move, or if the NYC Survival Fairy sprinkles some grit fairy dust on people as they enter the city, or if it’s the steel buildings and cold weather, but I visited with my family last week, and day after day I felt tougher, more confident, more resolute, knowing I could handle it, I could figure it out.
A few years ago I visited New York in a Waldorf Astoria, Park Avenue kind of way, but left longing to: really get to know the city, soak it all up, feel the grit of the subway on my hair, feel the ice cold chill of the wind coming off the river at 3 a.m. while hailing a cab, and go to a neighborhood bar smaller than my Texas sized living room.
Last week, those longings were satisfied.
The city’s diversity is unparalleled: Mexicans, Cubans, Persians, Italians, Africans, Chinese, short people, tall people, yuppies, hipsters, hippies, gangsters AND gangstas, old school New Yorkers with 3 piece suits, the list goes on and on, one huge melting pot, with one thing in common, grit.
How many people visit and have something stir up inside of them and say, “I want to live here”? A few. How many people actually do it? Much fewer. Maybe it’s my competitive nature or maybe I’m trying to stretch my limits, again. “It isn't like the rest of the country - it is like a nation itself - more tolerant than the rest in a curious way gets swallowed up here. All the viciousness that makes other cities vicious is sucked up and absorbed in New York.”-Steinbeck.
It’s no surprise that I jumped on the NYC is great bandwagon. The culture, the art, the history; is so rich and inviting. It’s like the city says, “Sure come on in, I’ll bring my best and you bring yours.”
I am putting in an order to my cosmic waitress, I call her, Oprah! “I would like to live in Manhattan some day!” Saying it out loud helps move the wheel forward, right?
In February 2007, I heard Chris Rock say that he wanted to sell out Madison Square Garden, every single seat, then 19,759 seats. I have thought of that number every day since. That number translates as being the best at your craft, being at the top of your game. Giving ALL you have and having people receive it in a positive way. 19,759. So, walking into the Garden felt magical, not just because it was a big arena, but because I knew countless artists and athletes had laid it all out on the line in front of 19,759 people. Guts.