Irrespective of race, religion, political affiliation, borough, or class, we were citizens of New York City, the moving parts of the greatest place on Earth. The camaraderie built while feeling a stranger’s breath on your neck on a packed rush-hour train is very real, as is being mashed together in tiny apartments stacked atop one another into the sky. New Yorkers are often close enough to smell each other’s sweat and see each other’s dandruff, close enough to hug each other or, conversely, strangle each other to death.
A lot of kids, me included, aspire from early on to live in New York because the crushing smallness of their birthplace pains them. They’re the town faggot or the town dreamer and they stand in their backyards and look into miles of desolation and quiet, knowing with bitter certainty that nobody—at least nobody they think of as significant—cares about them. They feel trapped in a tiny town beneath a massive sky full of stars, and they know they’ll be gone someday."