New York

The Ten Things I’ll Miss Most About New York

I’ll be leaving this great city in exactly a week, and I’ve been thinking about the parts of it that are truly irreplaceable. Here are a few:

The Craziness: I’ve seen a Spiderman impersonator using the leverage of a cart to bounce off walls like a scene from The Matrix. Celebrities walking down the street unnoticed and unbothered. Elmo suiting up in the subway station to get money from tourists in Times Square, only to be arrested a few weeks later … only in New York.

The Contradictions: There are dozens of amazing restaurants within a few blocks and yet I’d have to take a 30-minute train to buy good socks. There are film crews—big and small—everywhere, but no one here ever goes to the movies. 500 square-feet is considered HUGE. You get the idea.

Free/Cheap Stuff: New York is super expensive in a lot of ways, but some amazing things are surprisingly inexpensive. $30 to see Kevin Spacey as Richard III. $5 to get into the Met and see Van Goghs, Monets, the works. I saw Florence and the Machine for free—just had to put my name on a list. My boyfriend and I went bowling once and were treated to a performance by the original singers of The Lion Sleeps Tonight—while bowling. Jazz music is everywhere. At restaurants, coffee shops. Most recently in the bar below my apartment, drifting through the window on Sunday nights.

Everything About Williamsburg: Widely known for its droves of hipsters, tattooed or not, Williamsburg is a great neighborhood. There’s a park, a waterfront, amazing food, great bars, good music. TWO GREAT BOWLING ALLEYS. The list goes on. There are people rocking fashions popularized anywhere from 10 to 80 years ago. There are lots and lots of puppies. And of course, there are enough ridiculous characters for my former roommate and I to regularly play Hipster Bingo. Fluorescent overload, FTW!

Central Park: Sheep Meadow in the summer, where a man will make a mojito with a portable blender for $5. Bethesda fountain, which pops up in countless TV shows once you start to notice it. Strawberry Fields and a guy singing “Imagine” while strumming a guitar. Motorized sailboats. The sweeping reservoir. People getting married. More people getting married. A zoo, which seemed to come out of nowhere the first time I came across it. It’s one of the best parts of NYC.

Street and Subway Performers: My boyfriend and I once saw two guys do the entire “Who’s on First” skit in the time it took to ride the L train beneath the East River. Then there’s the guy who plays Nirvana on his stand-up bass, or the one who carries a HUGE piano all over the city. There are acrobats, Julliard musicians, dancers, soul singers, accordion players, garbage can drummers–everything you could ever imagine–all you have to do is pay attention.

The Pace: Everyone is always moving here, and I’ve grown used to it. It’s what makes people think New Yorkers are rude. They’re kind, generous citizens who love this city and the people in it. They also have a places to be, and if you’re in the way and just standing around, expect an earful or a slight nudge.

Picnics: Wine, cheese, salami–enough said. I’m lucky to have lived in a place for five years where everyone loves to picnic.

The Pizza: Seriously, how is it so much better here than anywhere else? I’ve heard it’s something to do with the water. Anyway, as much as I’m thrilled for tacos in SF, I’m going to miss having access to the best pizza ever. Fresh mozzarella. Chicken and broccoli. Spinach pinwheels. Everything oversized and perfectly foldable. I will also miss knowing the pizza guys well enough to engage them in gun-control debates while ordering a slice.

The People: I think E.B. White put it best: “The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines. The island of Manhattan is without any doubt the greatest human concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain elusive.”

“A sensitive look at the wake of a friend’s suicide, infused with genuine emotion, hope, and just enough well-placed romance.”~Booklist

“The Writing King of Difficult Subjects has to be John Green. After reading The After Girls, I would definitely put Ms. Konen in his court.”~Ink and Page

“A striking debut and an eerily good book… THE AFTER GIRLS is a vivid portrayal of interrupted lives and enduring friendships. It is as much about the known as the unknown and as much about healing as loss.”~Michael Northrop, author of ROTTEN, TRAPPED and GENTLEMEN

Ella, Astrid, and Sydney were planning the perfect summer after high school graduation. But when Astrid commits suicide in a lonely cabin, the other girls’ worlds are shattered. How could their best friend have done this–to herself and to them? They knew everything about Astrid. Shouldn’t they have seen this coming? Couldn’t they have saved her?

As Ella hunts for the truth, and Sydney tries to dull the pain, a chilling message from Astrid leaves them wondering whether their beloved friend is communicating from the after life. The girls embark on a journey to uncover Astrid’s dark secrets. The answers to those questions–questions they never dreamed of asking–will change their lives forever.

Get a copy of my debut young adult novel, THE AFTER GIRLS, here. 

6 thoughts on “The Ten Things I’ll Miss Most About New York

  1. I cried when I left New York 15 years ago. (Family obligations keep me in Miami.) I hope one day to return. You’ve articulated so many things that I love about it!

    My favorite New York story: I was working in the ticket booth of a movie theater when I saw a naked guy walking down the street. Not one person turned to look at him. Except for the three cops who came from three different directions to tackle him to the ground. Shortly before this the movie theater had been robbed and it took ages for the cops to show up. But one naked guy–who no one was bothered by–and cops where everywhere within seconds.

    Sigh, I miss New York. 🙂

  2. You have to make this a coffee table book! It made me want to move there tomorrow! Love all these wonderful things Leah. Thank you for sharing them and please make it into a small book, everyone can buy, perhaps in the tourist areas of N.Y. and/or at every bookstore that still exists. Love it! XO

  3. Hi Leah,
    As a born and raised New Yorker, who eventually moved to San Francisco, I do miss all those things about New York and more. But you’ll find San Francisco to be a smaller town version with the same or even more concentrated zaniness. Golden Gate Park, that was designed by the same landscape architect as Central Park, always has a lot going on. You will discover more Asia/Pacific/Central and South American influences in San Francisco than New York, which still has strong European/Caribbean/African influences. Yes, New York pizza is much better, but San Francisco probably has better Dim Sum, or Pot-Stickers.

    1. Thanks Kevin! I didn’t know that they were designed by the same person–I actually think I like GG park better–and we have definitely noticed the great food. We had Burmese the first week and great Thai the other night. I hope you guys get a chance to come back out here soon!

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