New York is the way it is because of the people that live here. The people are the ones who give the city its personality and its energy. They create the standards that all newcomers eventually end up adhering to, once they’ve been here a week or two. And they’re the ones that help teach those incoming New Yorkers how to be New Yorkers.
One of the things I love about New Yorkers is that they’re so optimistic. That’s a sortof counterintuitive observation if you watch a lot of Law & Order, but it’s true.
When times are tough, New Yorkers will take jobs waiting tables or working retail to make ends meet. But they’ll never stop believing that it’s “only temporary.” Everything they do, whether it’s working late nights at an especially crappy bar or cleaning apartments, they always know that it’s only until the right opportunity comes along. Everyone here has a dream – that’s why they moved here. There’s a universal understanding that Right Now is only temporary, until One Day comes along.
One Day, I’ll have HBO.
One Day, I’ll have my own apartment.
One Day, I’ll be able to take my girlfriend out for a nice dinner.
One Day, I’ll be doing what I love.
Everyone I know seems to be having an incredibly difficult year. But a common strain in our conversations is that “once January and the new year come along, things will be better.”
Of course, this sort of mentality can be just as annoying to endure as it is endearing – god knows I’ve met enough actors just “waiting to be discovered” to last a lifetime. But in times like these, it’s a quality that’s both necessary and wonderful. It makes being unemployed easier. It makes working at Best Buy tolerable. And it makes packing into studio apartments like sardines in bunk beds almost romantic.
The dreams that all New Yorkers hold are what set them apart from the rest of the world. New York is the city of ambition. Even in our deepest recession since the Great Depression, our TGI Friday’s servers are working happily for all those holiday season tips, so they can buy a new camera to film that new piece that will truly make their filming career. And I love that that optimism is always present here in New York, even when things are at their most difficult.