Part of what I love about spending time in New York City is experiencing a completely different life than what I live at home. I've lived most of my life in Texas, but for about four years in New Mexico. So I have a pretty small scope of "life style". The first time I went to New York I was already well into my 30's and I must have looked like the proverbial tourist with the mouth agape, camera in tow. 10-11 trips under my belt, I now try to play it cool. But it all still fascinates me. From the sheer mass of it all down to the store windows.
If you've never lived anywhere but a big city, would it fascinate you to have fewer people living on a city block than in your entire apartment building? to live in 1,500 square feet and think it's small? to never walk past a store window? Because those things fascinate me. I can spend ages looking into all of the windows of the shops along one city block - from hardware stores to pharmacies to gift shops. They are beautiful and have a sense of humor, some are political, some are whimsical. It's just one tiny part of the city that I adore.
When you live in most parts of Texas, and the whole country I think, you hop in a car and drive past everything at a minimum of 30 miles per hour. But when you live in a city that has a true pedestrian lifestyle you notice all kinds of things. Good and bad. I notice the intricacy of the architecture, the beauty of the smallest park, the elderly woman's labored climb out of the subway, the street performances - from acting out the latest Broadway play to the Spanish "rooster song" by the little man who was probably 20 years younger than he looked shuffling past with his cane and outstretched cup jingling with coins, the graffiti, every nationality imaginable in one square block, the sky - or lack of it, the trash on one corner and the art on the next, the homeless and the panhandling, the busking, and the dogs in sweaters, boots, and rain coats. I just feel life happening in that moment vs. flying past it at 30mph.
Every time I leave New York I miss it. But I also get home and appreciate the things, the differences, in my life. I'm lucky enough to be able to experience these different lifestyles, soak them in. Of course, I'm summing it all up in terms of the superficial, but it really is worth the time to think about walking in a different lifestyle for a minute...even if it's just a glance in a shop window.