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  • Dear New York,

    This is not a love letter. We've only just met and I'm still getting to know you. Obviously, I'm not the first person to write to you or about you. Others have done it far more eloquently than I will. I just wanted to let you know that I find you interesting and that I like spending time with you.

    I remember when I was first driving in from Pennsylvania, and I started seeing your name on highway signs. You were 405 miles away, that's when I first noticed. I started to see your ambiant light from New Jersey. It got brighter until finally I could see the top of the Empire State Building. Do you realize how weird that is for a kid from Monmouth, Oregon, where the tallest thing in town is an old tree, for someone who has only ever seen the New York skyline in pictures and movies, like it was a giant set piece?

    I know people who always knew they were going to live here, or dreamed about it, or wished for it, or wore 'I heart NY' shirts, never having been. I was never one of those people. I lived in Chicago, I loved Chicago. One summer I left my heart in San Francisco. But New York, I don't know, you always seemed like you were meant for someone else. So many other people were so into you that I didn't feel like I needed to be.

    But now that I'm here, now after walking around Brooklyn and Queens and Manhattan, riding your public transit, working out of your coffee shops, eating your slices of pizza (even though they're not as good as Chicago's), after getting totally lost numerous times, people watching around Times Square on an apparently busy Tuesday night in early December, after meeting up with old friends and introducing myself to people who might be new ones, after realizing that nobody here expects me to be any certain way, or even particularly cares that I'm here at all (which for some weird reason I find comforting), I want to be here. I want to get to know you better.

    Your Friend,

    -Whitney
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