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Live From New York!

I still remember the first day I felt invisible. I was six, and my parents had guests over, and it was late, and it felt like no one saw me or cared that I couldn't sleep without being tucked in, so I roamed the house, trying to feel seen. I stumbled into my parent's room, and their tv was on Saturday Night Live. This is how I knew it was way too late to be up, yet something about it felt so alive, like me, new york, and the season 36 cast, were all together having fun, laughing, and enjoying the night. Somehow I got lost in the jokes I didn't understand, and the brilliant comedic timing and Florence the machine started playing, it was the first time I heard dog days are over, and I could swear I was in the crowd, like I was a part of all of it, in that small hour I stopped feeling invisible.

After that, I vowed I belonged in New York City.

Always growing up in a town right outside a big city, the energy and enthusiasm of what is held inside, has always felt so far away. But turning on the TV gave me a one-way ticket to the city that never sleeps.

When I used to think of New York, I thought of all the shows that are set there, I also thought about how deeply ingrained each of them is in who I am today. From Carrie Bradshaw's killer style to Chandler Bing's sarcasm, even in recent shows, I find myself falling in love with the characters, and the way they navigate life in the city, with all its faults and beauties. And it's not just me, friends and peers all have these distinct memories of watching re-run episodes and binge-watching all the best moments that make new york city seem like the place to be. I’ve found that most of our generation has found comfort in this, the idea of a new place, capable of fresh starts, and escape, a place capable of holding what feels like “too much”, whether that’s in dreams, personality, or ambition, these shows give us a way of seeing a place, with unlimited room to be exactly who we dream to be.

Friends is set in Manhattan and follows a group of friends living and working in the city. Friends captures the quintessential New York experience of living in a lively city with a close group of friends. The show's portrayal of Central Perk, the coffee shop where the characters frequently gather, has become a symbol of New York City's coffee culture and social scene.

One of the key influences of Friends on the romanticization of New York is its depiction of the "coffee shop culture" that is ubiquitous in the city. The show's portrayal of the Central Perk coffee shop, where the characters spend much of their time, highlights the importance of communal gathering places in the city's social scene. Friends also showcases the importance of having a tight-knit group of friends in a city where it can be difficult to make connections.

While the different storylines like Rachel getting her dream job at Ralph Lauren and the rooftop scene showcase the excitement and magic of New York, they also contribute to the romanticized idea that anyone can achieve their dreams if they work hard enough. While this idea can inspire people to pursue their passions, it can also lead to the unrealistic expectation that success is solely a matter of effort and that failure is a personal fault rather than a systemic issue. Additionally, the romanticization of the city can contribute to gentrification and the displacement of long-time residents who cannot afford the rising costs of living in the city.

Another iconic sitcom set in Manhattan is Sex and the City. It follows the lives of four women as they navigate their careers, relationships, and social lives in the city. The show's depiction of fashion, nightlife, and romance has contributed to the romanticization of New York as a city of glamour, excitement, and possibility.

Sex and the City has had a major influence on the romanticization of New York as a city of fashion and style. The show's depiction of the characters' lavish lifestyles, glamorous wardrobes, and fancy apartments has contributed to the image of New York as a place of wealth and luxury. The show also explores the city's diverse neighborhoods, highlighting the unique character and charm of each area.

As much as I love Sex and the City and how the show showcases the glamour and luxury of New York, they also contribute to the romanticized idea that the city is a place of endless resources. While this idea can inspire people to pursue their dreams, it can also contribute to the perception that success is only attainable for those who are already privileged and that those who cannot achieve this level of success are somehow inadequate. Additionally, the romanticization of the city can contribute to the commodification of its culture and the erasure of the city's diverse communities.

Although, not all perceptions of New York have to be romanticized, idyllic, white, cookie-cutter versions.

Pose is set in New York City in the late 1980s and early 1990s. the show premiered in 2018, and although is set in an earlier decade, its message and story carry on to today's audience incredibly. The show explores the ball culture of the LGBTQ+ community and highlights issues such as discrimination, poverty, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The show has been praised for its authentic representation of LGBTQ+ people and people of color and its depiction of the importance of chosen family. The ball scenes specifically showcase the creativity, talent, and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community. These scenes also highlight the importance of chosen family and the support they provide for individuals who are rejected by their biological families. Additionally, the ball scenes showcase the diversity and inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community and its contributions to the cultural identity of New York City.

This depiction of New York City in Pose is not as prominent as in other shows. The show presents a more nuanced and realistic portrayal of the city, showcasing both the struggles and triumphs of marginalized communities. The show celebrates the Originality, tenacity, and range of the LGBTQ+ community and its contributions to the cultural identity of New York City.

The show's depiction of the importance of chosen family is inspiring, to appreciate and celebrate the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community is to open doors to people that didn't even know existed. It gives way to the idea, that no matter who you are, there's a place for you.

This idea isn't restricted to new york, no matter how the media makes it seem.

New York is a place where dreamers can come and find a community, but it's also a place that can be incredibly challenging to live in. One of the biggest challenges is the rise in the cost of living in these cities. As more and more young people flock to places like New York, Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, the cost of rent and other necessities has skyrocketed, making it harder and harder for creatives to make ends meet. We may find ourselves struggling to make ends meet, isolated from our support systems, and grappling with the stress and pressures of city life.

This has led to the loss of many young creatives and has kept our generation out of the spaces we've been dreaming of since we were kids. Despite these challenges, I still believe that it's important for our generation to have a "place" where we can fit in and be ourselves. And for a lot of us, that place might be New York. There's something about this city that draws in dreamers from all over the world, and we must continue to foster that spirit of creativity and possibility.

Of course, it's also important to remember that moving to a new city won't solve all of our problems. We can't just run away from our issues and hope that a change of scenery will fix everything.

In previous years, if you wanted to make something of yourself, you had to move to the big city. And for our generation, that message shaped our dreams and ambitions. But now that I'm older, I've realized that the reality is much more complicated than the idealized version we saw on TV.

While moving to a new place can certainly offer a fresh start, it doesn't necessarily mean that all our problems will disappear. Sometimes the places we happen to be in, make us feel silent and unseen, and we take it because it feels good just to be there. It's not enough to be somewhere if you can't be all of you while there. Often we find ourselves trying desperately to replace our feelings of fear, stress, and loneliness, when in fact, for many young people, the challenges of living in a big city can be just as overwhelming.

What I've learned about NYC, is that it will allow your quietness, your imperfections, your quirks, and your shine, it will allow you. All of you. To just be you. NYC gives you a place, to fit in, no matter who you are. But, moving, and trying to run from those feelings, does not work out the way it's planned. Without realizing it, your baggage isn't just toothpaste and cool outfits, it's all the crappy stuff you thought you were leaving behind.

Now I can't give you the end all to the problems this world has given our generation, I can't even begin to list what ways we fight daily to hold on to some ounce of safety, but I know that, In the end, it's all about finding balance. We need to embrace the dreamer inside of us and strive for something more, but we also need to be grounded in reality and remember that life isn't always easy. And if we can do that, I believe that we can make our dreams a reality, no matter where we end up.

There is something about the energy and possibility of these places that can be intoxicating. And for many, the dream of making it out of our “bad” is too powerful to resist. But it's not just about making it in the big city. It's all about finding a place where you feel like you belong. Whether that's in New York or small town Ohio, the feeling of safety, warmth, and community, should be accessible wherever we go.

It should also be important to love and create within the communities that already exist, after my first visit, I wanted to enthrall myself in all the tourist-centric activities new york had to offer, but somehow on my second day there, I found myself at a friends house, eating Bhature, and coconut chickpea curry with her neighbors, we talked about where to really go in new york, and all the places they've seen come and go through the years.

I remember the way they observed everything, the changes made on their corner, the posters added to their route, the way they talked about the city, in hidden tones, and caring novelty. It made me look at everything I did in the city more carefully, more purposefully.

It wasn't like the movies, it wasn’t like anything I had seen before. It was original, alive, and fantastical, not because of high-rise rooftop parties, or galas, but because, people everywhere I went, were unafraid in a way I never noticed before.

When I think of new york now, I think of the guy holding the subway emergency door open to make sure as many people as possible can pass for free

I think of the block parties made up of homemade burgers and summer heat, full of kids playing tag and planning sleepovers

I think of loud nights with kids from college, all sitting at the pizza shop that's been around for decades, dressed in glitter and mischief

When I think of new york, I think of hidden corners full of love, in all forms, full of energy beyond words, and beauty even in the unconventional.

This New York is the place loved by our generation, or at least it should be, because this new york, is the place we deserve to keep safe, have space in, and continue to nourish. This is the new york that loves us too.

Written by Toni Desiree

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