City Personalities: NY vs. DC
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller
Weekend travel is like blind dating.
You’ve never met, and you have a short amount of time to learn everything about the city. It’s exciting and exhausting, and you are never quite sure if you got to see the true personality of the place.
For what its worth, here are my observations after some excellent “first dates” with new cities!
In New York, it’s all about the glitz and glam of the theater, and how each person tries to impress the world with their relevance. I felt the thrill of the city, excitement pulsing with the lights of Times Square.
One of my favorite blogs to follow, “Humans of New York“, shows off this great diversity, and proves the point that the New York personality is larger than life. You can see in each person a performer, someone who puts on a loud costume of self-expression that blends with thousands of others.
I can see why this place draws people to it – it’s charismatic! No matter how rude the cabbie or the cross walk crowd, there is an underlying sense of optimism that tantalizes minds to believe anything is possible.
Is it real? Would that feeling last? I say it depends on the person, but I’m not blind to the fact that New York is also an incredibly hard place to make a living.
You see, there’s also a sense of gritty hopelessness there, a bad aftertaste of unfulfilled dreams. The ambitious drive of the city becomes a relentless, scorching flame that burns through the soul, leaving empty shells with crushed dreams.
Even with that, I have to say that this was one of the best first city-dates I could have hoped for. It was a thrill, a rush, and I met a celebrity!
If D.C. were a guy, he would be the kind I would never date.
You see, D.C. is a city of secrets, and everything is hidden. Even our lunch destination took 3 phone calls and a lucky stroll inside a nondescript office building. If you ask people where they work, they might just reply “The Government,” which is frighteningly mysterious.
This was particularly grating, because I value honesty so much.
Don’t misunderstand me, I loved my time here, loved the history of the city, and the austere importance that surrounded so many of the structures.
It is so important to remember the past, to recall what you’ve gone through and grown through, and everywhere I looked in D.C. there was a monument to help you remember. That is the thing that I loved most about this city.
Compared to the fast-paced, gilded happiness of NYC that leaves you hollow, Washington DC treasures rich history that makes you whole.
DC may not reveal itself in the present, but it doesn’t shy away from the past, and that is a sign of good character.
No matter where you go, or how many city-dates you have, be aware. Know that no place is perfect, but don’t let that dampen the wonder of discovery.
After all, you never know when you’ll find a “catch!”