New York CityI always refer to it as “The City,” as if it’s the only one (no intended allusion to Whitney Port’s reality show). Mostly because New York City is referenced ubiquitously and often feels completely foreign in the most comforting of ways. It’s an easy place to fall in love with, or romanticize, and is laced in juxtapositions and secrets.

While the date of forced romance is steadily approaching, I find solace in the plethora of streets, brick buildings and Chinese restaurants that surround me. Because ultimately, there is something so romantic about the big apple. While sure, it’s been exaggerated through the columns of Carrie Bradshaw and her budget-less tribe, there’s also such a glamorous aspect to the concrete jungle, even on its worst days (Mondays while icy mush, humidity and/or rain deluge the overcrowded sidewalks).

So for the skeptics, willing to deprive my crush of its adulation’s, try to refute said reasons (I’m limiting the list to 20, though I could easily add dozens of zeroes to that number) as to why I’m in love:

-The bagels, a counterclaim to said reason is absurd, FYI.

-The smell of lamb pita wafting from the Halal carts, aka food you only dare to eat late night, that hints at remote countries you crave or dream of. Everyday I miss you, India and yet I am reminded of you before I’ve even had my morning coffee.

-Limitless access to coffee: AM, PM, and the earliest of hours you usually forget exist.

-Everything about Irving Place and its quaint, countryside charm. Also, the location of Friend Of A Farmer: they put bacon in their mac’n’cheese….

-The cacophony of discordant sounds that make you feel so alive, or nearly flatten you as you prepare to cross the street, but still, quite the rush.

-Hailing a cab, which isn’t New York specific, but still list-worthy.

-The moment a tourist asks you for directions because you blend in like a true New Yorker. Mission accomplished, in spite of the inability to reciprocate with accurate instructions.

-The color combinations of the Empire State Building on your walk home. Glorious!

-Home to one dollar slices. And black and white cookies. And those I heart T-shirts.

-The rare sights. The other day, mid-snowstorm, I saw a man wearing a dress and Mickey Mouse ears. It was brilliant. True story.

-Taking comfort in the clutter and living vicariously through strangers who are always indulging in happy hours, candlelit dinners, brownstones, and Broadway shows…the potential of “one day.”

-There’s always an open bar. Always.

-Central Park, which seems so misplaced and yet is the breath of fresh air you desperately needed. Also, free gym membership!

-Christmas. My happy place! The randomly lit streets (E. 73rd near E.J.s diner), trees for sale on every other corner and the whimsical markets, especially the Bryant Park shops, which are absolutely overpriced, but, still completely addicting.

-Brunch, it’s not just for Sundays! Especially the mimosa-drinking kind; combining two favorite meals and adding booze is plentiful here.

-The true birthplace of the cupcake. The incipience of this trend deserves some major accolades.

-Its Walk-ability. A quality I hated as kid that I now love. Navigating (or shuffling) through the crazy avenues and numbered streets scattered throughout the city, make all possibilities seem boundless.

-Uncovering hidden gems, i.e. a little taste, a darling coffee shop resting on West 28th between 6th and 7th.

-Witnessing random acts of kindness, which can be masked by smells of city litter, roaring sirens and pushy patrons, but make everything worth it.

-The extremes: it can be incredibly beautiful, or disgustingly dirty, the ability to blend in or stand out, a sometimes love-hate relationship, the way it can be incredibly lonely or ridiculously crowded.

And so, Happy almost Valentines Day to the city I’m totally smitten with. I love you for the reasons listed, and many more, but above all, thanks for the convenient location of the liquor store adjacent to my apartment. My darling, New York, you just really get me.