“Manhattan is an island” and other sayings about the city
I wanted to write this post because of our homesick friend from Texas. I write this in the hopes that it will make some of you feel more validated about where you are and perhaps more comfortable being uncomfortable.
Why do I say "Manhattan is an island?" Manhattan seems to promise that it encompasses the whole world; that it's cosmopolitan grandeur has a piece of every world culture, and that if you want to find anything, you can find it in Manhattan. While you may meet people from many walks of life here, this is a place all its own, not some beacon that represents the world entire. Even when I encounter people who come from all corners of the globe, I encounter them in a distinctly Manhattan way that is entirely different than if I were to go to foreign turf.
Manhattan is an island. A cultural exclave. A speck on the map. A mere 0.7% of 4.25% of the world. It is a place like no other, no matter what it promises to be.
In light of this truth, it's okay to feel out of place, and quite honestly a sign that you're one of the normal ones. From the ranters and ravers in Times Square who yell of hellfire, to the rideshare drivers who all speak different tongues and yet yell their loudest with the exact same automobile horn, to the perturbed office man who walks the street at 6PM and gasps "this is f****** ridiculous" to no audience at all, the city is full of lonely people who, despite being surrounded by millions of souls just like themselves, yell into the void with megaphone, with car horn, with vocal cord- in the hopes that in their unilateral conversations they will find the relief they desperately crave.
You're not alone, friend. We're strange people who dwell in a strange borough of a strange city.