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Bo is an avid connoisseur of the entertainment industry, pop culture, and social networking. His voice is the written word, music is his soundtrack, and his passion is the power of visual imagery. When not writing for The Hudsucker, Bo works as a content marketer for software company ExactTarget.

New York State of Mind: A Midwest Boy’s Impressions on Life in the Big Apple

The crossroads of America, also known as the Midwest, are often known for vast open spaces, simplicity, and humble inhabitants. Those that grow up in these surroundings have little experience in a bustling metropolis, so what happens when an Indiana boy makes a trip to New York City, known far and wide at the Granddaddy of the big cities?

New York Skyline

Image Credit: Corbis

First off, a point of clarification: The idea that Midwesterners all live on a farm is an extreme over-assumption. Having grown up in Indianapolis (12th largest city in the US) and lived out brief stints in Boston, Massachusetts and Sydney, Australia, traveling to New York is not a first time experience. Rather, this account seeks to give perspective as to the observations that a native Midwesterner would have about the similarities and differences between the Heartland and the Big Apple.

Flying in over the city at night is a magical journey. Millions upon millions of tiny lights dot the surface of the ground below, and tall buildings reach to the sky in greeting. Energy and anticipation build within as the wheels touchdown. A new adventure has begun.

The feelings one has when moving throughout a city are reflective of the realization that you are only a tiny fraction of the entire pie. A solitary ant in a colony many. Nevertheless, the sounds that invade one’s eardrums are those of life. The screeching of tires, the hissing of smoke, the padding of shoes on the pavement, and the muffle of hundreds of voices all speaking at once. To many, this might be sensory overload.

There is almost a reassuring notion of wandering a vast urban landscape knowing that there are others out there. No worry or question of if you’re the only one in the world who feels the way you do. There’s a sense of hope for understanding amongst your fellow man. Of making a connection with another human that is entirely personal.

Like a modern day explorer, new cities offer new challenges and new barriers to overcome. In a world that has largely been discovered, this feeling of adventure strikes a chord with our most animalistic of instincts. And you can tell yourself, “I will overcome. I will learn. And I will progress.” Confidence at its most intimate.

Landscapes remain the more popular locales for painting, photography, and the visual arts. But there is also such great beauty to behold in the city. The contrasts of steel, glass, and concrete. The sky’s reflection in a curbside puddle. The shadows that dance across the architecture as the sun moves slowly across the sky. To stop and observe is to acknowledge that God created man, and man, in turn, went on to create in that honor.

Finally, there is a sense of magic that one feels when walking around a city that has been captured in so many times in the stories of film and television. On one street you can imagine Woody Allen sauntering down the street. Overhead Spiderman swings between buildings. At the corner Travis Bickle sits in his taxi. It’s as if all of your favorite characters exploded out of the screen and into your physical world.

Many of these observations are frequently overlooked by the daily inhabitants of such areas. If there ever was a lesson to be learned about perspective, it’s to travel the world as if your were a visitor, new to every destination you encounter. Adventure is out there!

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