One of the downsides of being a student in New York City is that the area of the city around your school somehow loses its metropolitan charm. After the first few days you lose your awe of being in NEW YORK CITY and find yourself rushing around with your mind on classes, friends, transportation, and food without a thought for the city that is one of the centers of the world.
Washington Square and Greenwich Village aren’t the Washington Square and Greenwich Village you fantasize about in books but merely geographic reference points. Greenwich Village? Oh, that’s Mamoun’s Falafel, Red Bamboo, Indian Taj, and all those other small, quaint eateries. Washington Square Park? That’s the Dosa Man, Cake and Shake, the “Nuts 4 Nuts” vendor – the green way to cut from Kimmel to Hayden. Union Square? That’s Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Duane Reade, UHall, Palladium’s athletic center, “14th St. Union Square, transfers are available to the N, R, . . . 6 train” (whereby you can get to 42nd Street and transfer to the 7 train).
But when you look up from your books at Kimmel’s 7th floor lounge and see the Empire State Building and the perpetual traffic jam on 5th Avenue; when you look out from the your friends’ dorm windows and see the lights of the city; when you emerge from the subway car and hear an er hu wheezing out Christmas carols or feel the catchy beat of bucket drums; when you step out into the crisp fall air and are greeted by “am New York?”; when your eyes are treated to the curiosities of the Union Square Holiday Market; when you see the gilded doors of Forbes Magazine Gallery, free to the public and open Tuesday to Saturday 10-4; when you see the Salvation Army men bring out their Christmas bells; then you realize, then it hits you, that you are standing right in the center of the greatest city in the world – and you’re proud to be a New Yorker.