Am I Over New York City?

A New Yorker’s reckoning

Pablo Andreu
5 min readJun 7, 2022
Source: Licensed via Adobe Stock

I grew up across the Hudson River, close enough to feel Manhattan’s centripetal force but far enough to yearn and covet. Full-figured FOMO. From across the river, you didn’t see any of the city’s flaws. All you saw were the skyscrapers, stoic and neolithic during the day, jeweled lightning at night.

As a kid, I bought into New York’s self-proclaimed title: The Greatest City in the World. I was in awe of “the city,” which to me meant Manhattan no matter where I was or with whom I was speaking — or modern-day Rome, as my dad told me.

When I was eight years old, my sister, a decade older, took me to get a haircut in the Village. Holding my hand, she led me across the busy avenues, lingering in the middle of the street, an island of our own, until the parade of trumpeting yellow taxis left a gap just long enough for us to slip through.

The barbershop was full of people I didn’t see in New Jersey: guys wearing what at the time I’d consider “girl clothes” and girls wearing what I would have called “guy clothes,” people with piercings in weird places, green and purple hair dye.

The barber’s mirrors were plastered with magazine cutouts of angular, po-faced models, some of whom bared their breasts, kissing and touching in suggestive ways.