I love this city. I've loved other cities (Paris and Venice come to mind) but New York City - it's the love of my life, and it's amazing to me that I ended up here because it really was out of pure coincidence.
I still remember the exact moment I decided to come to New York. As a city, it really wasn't on my radar. It wasn't a childhood dream (although we did visit when I was little) or part of any plan, but I heard an announcement at school about an internship program in New York and I thought, hey, that's what I'll do for my year out (common for teenagers in the UK to taken between high school and college). The previous plan had been to work for an architect in France but I hadn't got around to figuring out how to make that happen... and here was a program that would organize everything, including accommodation.
I applied and got offered a job as a receptionist for a trade finance company. No, it wasn't France or an architecture firm and yes, they wanted me for my accent, but I'd be living and working abroad and hey, why not move to NYC by myself at age 18?!
Ok so it wasn't by myself - the program organized visas, bank accounts, accommodation and support, but I didn't know anyone. My parents arranged for some friends of theirs to pick me up from the airport so I went a few days early and stayed with them, so that was nice, but looking back it is hard to believe that the 18 year old me didn't experience it as a bigger deal.
And I loved it. I went from JFK to Queens to Westchester where I was to live, but I remember the first trip into NYC with my roommates. We got the train into Grand Central (as we would every day) and... wow.
And by the way, Grand Central offers the only decent way to arrive in this city - Penn Station and all the airports are AWFUL!
Anyway, I was smitten. I was only meant to stay a year but I've never left, and ended up going to college here. I've been married and divorced and married again, bought a house, changed careers, had a kid, started my own business... and finally a couple of years ago I became a US citizen and, with Liam's help, I'm even learning the words to the star spangled banner (he knows more of the words than I do!)
At this point, I've lived more than half my life in New York and I wouldn't have it any other way. I love the density, the diversity, the energy, and the fact that anything goes. England is where I'm from and the rest of America can still seem pretty foreign to me - New York is a culture unto itself and, through the good and the bad, the heartbreak and the happiness, it's where I call home.
I love you New York City!
nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!