New York has been home for me for nearly a dozen years now. I've seen streets change, I've seen new people come every year. I've seen this city survive Sandy. I've seen its people grow with it.
I still remember that one night after Sandy. It's the first Monday with the lower half of Manhattan without any power, including my own apartment. Despite no power, water or heat, I didn't leave. I left for work every morning and returned every night. That first night, however, was special. The first night - I walked home with dozens of strangers. No one knew each other, yet we walked home on Second Avenue. Cops would pull over and walk us a few blocks for our own safety. Public busses would stop and ask if anyone needed a ride. It was incredible.
This weekend, in the longest time that I can remember, I've had a weekend. I did the 4:30am thing on Friday. I played tennis in Williamsburg. I walked the Brooklyn Bridge promenade. I had great food. And for once - did not think about work. The work / life separation doesn't happen for me that often. But when it does. It feels great.
It also reminded me that New York really is home for me. I've traveled the world. Not necessarily looking for something, but to get something out of it. But, as I spend a few weeks in New York, I realize that this place I call home is home for a reason. I know enough bartenders that will entertain me if I ever need some Bud Lights. I know enough people that stumbling around lower east side, I will run into a familiar face. And I know enough hidden places that make people smile.
Most importantly - every good thing in my life has started here. That first job. That first dream. That first company. And many many more. This city is home for me. While people have come and gone. And while I'll meet many more visitors as they cross this island, it has never let me down.
Stay strong, New York. The city, I proudly call home.