3 Reasons I’ve loved New York City since I was 3 years old

I love you and I have done since I was 3 years old. I remember you fondly when we are apart. You make me feel alive.

Are these the words I write to my soulmate today? I confess they are not. Am I reciting the script of a Dawson’s creek pilot? I empathise with your suspicions but sincerely, I hope I am not.These words are for you New York City, for you and you alone.Flatiron Building New YorkWhen I was asked by Anna (Slightly Astray) to participate in the Accor Hotels A Tale of 3 Cities blogger competition, I wanted to pretend that choosing the city would be exhausting, that I would drown in my traveller dilemmas about how to even commence the shortlist. This, they say, is the point one starts the brainstorm, drawing irritatingly cluttered spider diagrams but no sooner had I finished reading Anna’s tweet, I knew instinctively what my answer would be.Taking London out of the equation (it captures my heart infinitely but I’m not oblivious to the bias so intrinsically intertwined with calling a place home.)Chrysler Building New York City

New York City – The Background to the Love Affair

My first visit to New York is a faint and shaded, vintage Instagram filter of a memory. I was a talkative 3-year-old, fiercely protective of the Statue of Liberty rubber my parents had bought me. It was my most cherished possession and remained carefully sheltered in my box of treasures through my early childhood in Saudi Arabia. It survived my move to England, my university and house moves and I still know exactly which drawer of which table in my parents’ home it lives in. I lose EVERYTHING so you will understand what this cheap piece of rubber actually means to me.The Statue of LibertyAnd somehow, this little memento was to underpin my life milestones, as New York City became an integral part of some of the most memorable moments in my life.

1) New York City – my first travel destination as a doctor.

When I finished medical school after 6 years of training, exams and fees, my first pay pack went straight into New York City, straight into that horse carriage ride through central Park with the elegantly dressed chauffeur. It went straight into the Times Square hotel that I knew was over budget but brought me within inches of the neon lights that would make me gasp with wide-eyed awe.Times Square NYC night view It went straight into the Macy’s shopping spree, so uncharacteristic of myself, straight into the New York jazz bar, where the sensual sounds of the passionate saxophonist left me engrossed and mesmerised.Staten Island Ferry And it went straight onto the Staten Island ferry to see the taller, sturdier version of my souvenir – the actual Statue of Liberty, to have its patriotic, powder green facade standing proud face to face with me, as if my little souvenir had brought me back after years of dreaming.Statue of Liberty Island I love this city, where pristinely-iced, colourful cupcakes clad in dainty paper cases find me with no effort; where I don’t need to read reviews or seek recommendations for great food – it’s just on every corner.mini cupcakes New York

2) New York City – my first travel destination with the man I would marry

Despite always wanting to venture somewhere new, I knew immediately that there was nowhere else I’d rather travel to for my first voyage with Pumpkin. Because the butterflies I felt in my stomach the first time I stepped off the train at Penn Street station and stood in the shadow of those skyscrapers, were every bit as potent and every bit as electric as when I first met Pumpkin.Empire State view from Top of the Rock And that fortunate day, nearly five years ago when I met him on a blind date, I was bursting at the seams with optimism when a hazy deja-vu engulfed me because I remembered that New York City fills me with that same sense of belief. And I ponder over whether my un-oppressable glee was an annoyance to the staff on boardΒ  that Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York.

3) New York City – out of one decade and into another

And if you still don’t believe my love for New York City, then my words fail me but let me tell you this. When I celebrated a significant birthday a couple of years ago, I stayed true to myself (I can’t be accused of being disloyal at least) – I dreamt of New York City once again but ultimately, at times of joy, I love the pleasure of having friends and family around me.
image

So we brought New York City to London instead. To our living room. Our guest of honour, The Statue of Liberty, made a cameo appearance to remind me why through all these decades, it has been a constant on my journey (even if it was just as a cardboard cut out this time). It joined us of course as it has done through all these decades as we feasted on New York cheesecake, Coney island hot dogs and as we drank Cosmopolitans and looked at the skyscrapers at night-time.

Start spreading the news. I’m not leaving today but I will see you one day again soon, New York City.

42 thoughts on “3 Reasons I’ve loved New York City since I was 3 years old

  1. Haha, what a fab birthday party theme! I know what you mean about getting carried away in Macy’s. When I was there I ended up being followed around by a personal shopper and I got totally caught up in the moment. Even though I was only on a backpacking trip I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of money!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:26 pm

      Hehe, it’s so true EmilyAnn – I was exactly the same! I’m not a big shopper at all, in fact I actually really dislike it most of the time and find it such a pain but there’s something about being out in NY, being in Macy’s and your pound going so much further than it does in England that seems to sway even the most disciplined of us!! And yes, I was pondering over a party theme for so long and when my husband suggested NYC, there was no turning back! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  2. Wow those are some great reasons!! I love it when childhood dreams become reality. Love the “faint and shaded vintage instagram filter” image πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:28 pm

      Thanks Natasha πŸ™‚ It’s funny isn’t it, it’s the kind of thing you read about it in books but that tiny little Statue of Liberty rubber really turned out to be a bit of a lucky charm for me – such a small cheap item but means the world to me πŸ™‚

  3. I think New York would be my choice too – it was my first trip out of Europe when I was 18 and totally fell in love with it. Since then I’ve been back three times and can’t wait until the next time!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:30 pm

      Sounds like you have had the same love affair with it as I have Lucy!! I went twice in 4 years, which is quite unusual for me to return to the same place that quickly but it just has that effect on me too – delighted to hear you love the city so much too! In fact, just since writing this post, I’ve been so ridiculously tempted to try and head back again this year!

  4. I was 8 when we went and I bought a purple Statue of Liberty eraser and was utterly heartbroken when it so emerged that Lady Liberty was not purple at all – that’s my overriding memory of the whole trip!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:30 pm

      Hahaha, that’s so funny! I can’t believe you had a little rubber too – but why on earth would they sell it in purple I wonder?!

  5. I love New York too! I was 21 when I visited, and I was thrilled as this meant I could accompany my husband into bars. I also found their squirrels to be great at posing for photos πŸ˜‰

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 10:19 pm

      Haha, yeh..of all the reasons for loving NYC that I strugglged to squeeze into the shortlist for this post, I must admit the squirrel one escaped me! πŸ˜‰ My husband had the under 21 issue when he went the first time which was to see in the new Millenium!

  6. Ah New York – I couldn’t agree more! Love this post πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 10:15 pm

      Thanks so much Suzanne πŸ™‚ Really appreciate that lovely comment! I saw your NYC pics recently and seems you had a great time out there too!

  7. What a beautiful post and gorgeous stories! Sounds like you have a heap of great memories from NYC, I hope you get to head back soon!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:33 pm

      Thank you so much for your kind words Jess – I really do appreciate it πŸ™‚ I love NYC so much and it’s one of those places that just makes me smile and writing this post has really made me want to go back too!!

  8. Love New York I went 10 years ago and think it’s about time I went back πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:34 pm

      Sounds like a great idea Becky! For those of us who just love New York, I think it’s one of those places that just never gets old πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:39 pm

      Hehe, thanks….but I’m not sure he agrees!! πŸ˜€

  9. Awwww I love this! I had a tiny suspicion it may be New York :D. But I had no idea just how special it is to you! I love that it holds so many fond memories for you. I love the story with the rubber! I collected things like that when i was little too.

    Can you believe that I haven’t been there yet? But when I eventually get there, I hope to be every bit as enthralled!!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:41 pm

      Thank YOU so much for the nomination Anna. I really wasn’t sure what I’d be able to come up with for this post but when I started putting words to the page for New York, all these memories and special moments came flooding back πŸ™‚ You were West Coast when you were in the US right? So I guess it is so far and living in little England, I always forget just how far apart so many of the major US cities are from each other! Hope you do get to go one day though – it’s just such an electric city!

  10. I love everything about this post. New York City will always be my absolute favorite city, too. I grew up not to far away from NYC and trips into the city were always so magical for me. It’s pretty much where I fell in love with my husband, too. So I believe you made the absolute right decision after finishing medical school!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:43 pm

      Thank you so much Carolann! The fact that you grew up so near there and enjoyed this post makes me so happy! So romantic that you fell in love in and around NYC! I’d love to live out there even just for a little while but it’d be so difficult with work etc so I’ll settle for just going back there to visit again and again πŸ™‚

  11. Ooooo I love NYC too, and you have such beautiful, romantic connections to this already wonderful place.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:45 pm

      Thanks Colleen! I’m so pleased to hear you like NYC too! It’s easy to have big expectations of a place and then end up a little disappointed but when I went as an adult for the first time, I was thrilled to find it lived up to everything I imagined it would be πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for reading!

  12. I can understand your love and fascination for the ‘Big Apple.’ It is definitely one of the greatest city with its bright lights and attractions. And I loved the fact that you treated yourself to a trip with your first pay – kind of like a ‘To: Me – From: Me’ gift!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:47 pm

      Haha, you’re right Constance, I hadn’t really thought of it as being a To-Me-From-Me gift but I guess that’s exactly what it was!! A rather more generous gift than I’d normally go for but the dream was a long-time coming. There’s just an energy in NYC that fills me with excitement when I’m there πŸ™‚

  13. This is so terrible to admit – but we’ve never visited New York City (apart from flying through the airports). Yet it’s such a fab city we hear! We’d love to take in some of the shows. Ok, one day…

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 9:50 pm

      Really?! But you guys have been everywhere!! It’s often the way though that the places nearer to home sometimes get left till last – I live in London but have never been to Ireland, have only really ever spent a day or so in Scotland etc but have still made it to the the other side of the world! I know I’m biased because of how much I love NYC but I hope you do go one day and I look forward to reading your take on it when you do πŸ™‚

  14. I absolutely love your New York cake! I enjoyed my time in New York last year, we cycled round Central Park having borrowed bicycles from The Mark, and we also liked Jane’s Carousel

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 10:04 pm

      Thanks Suze πŸ™‚ I didn’t know about Jane’s Carousel – just looked it up now! That’s a good tip for me for next time I go!

  15. I love the photos! Especially the cake πŸ™‚

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 29, 2015 — 10:05 pm

      I really didn’t want to cut the cake because it looked so pretty, like a work of art! The cake-maker did a great job! Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

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