WHAT IS IT ABOUT NEW YORK CITY? BY NATALIE-EVE WILLIAMS

New York City. Like millions of other people, I was totally enchanted by the place from the moment my feet first walked upon it’s historic streets. I just can’t bear to be away from the place that has become my second home…

LOVE AFFAIR

My love affair with the city began when I was a teenager. Seeing the Manhattan skyline on countless films, the attitude of the stereotypical New Yorker, the grit… And of course, the music.

In 1996, I started having dreams about going. They started to get so regular and vivid that I started writing them all down.

MY FIRST TRIP

February 1997, 19 years old and working as a temp in town, I got presented with the opportunity to go, quite literally out of the blue. I remember landing at Newark Airport and as you walk to baggage claim you could see the unmistakable skyline, with the World Trade Centre towers clipping the clouds. I honestly never felt so comfortable anywhere outside of home and 23 years ago, it was a pretty different place to what it is now. It was on this trip that one of my dearest friendships was born, out of a random conversation with a student nurse from Brooklyn.

She was a single mother to a 3 year old (whose wedding I went to on my last visit a few months ago) and we started chatting about work, music, life and god knows what else if I’m completely honest. We stayed in touch by letter and phonecalls (which cost a fortune then – no WhatsApp etc). After a couple of years began our regular trips across the pond and we have become more like family.

“HUNDREDS OF HIDDEN GEMS”

I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve managed to meet up and each time I go over, I find a new part of the city and the people, that I fall in love with. Some of the best nights of my life have been spent there, with some of the best people. Waking up to that sound and that feeling when you realise where you are when you first open your eyes. Whether it’s brunch on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Street food on 42nd. Lazy days drinking on Bleeker Street. Or just flitting from museum to one of the hundreds of hidden gems scattered throughout it’s 33 square miles.

“IT BECOMES MORE INGRAINED IN ME WITH EVERY VISIT”

The mindset, the ambition, the music, the sport, the multi-cultural communities and immense civic pride that floods the place.
Over the years, new friends have come along and others have settled over there, after surrendering to the relentless pining to make every last visit a permanent one. It becomes more ingrained in me with every visit. The minute I can find a way to make the move (or become seriously rich overnight) I’d be right there with them.

SOUNDS OF NEW YORK CITY

This playlist takes you to every borough, spans decades and hopefully gives you a flavour of the place if you’ve never been. And if you have, makes you miss it a little less. Enjoy!

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/51QzBwzjUpUjsOzfKc6d1p?si=-8krDcZ3ST2eSVjNd57-Fw


Read our exclusive interview with Natalie-Eve Williams, where she talks all about her home city Manchester!

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