If New York City was on Facebook, our relationship status would say “It’s Complicated.” I love her, I do; I have idolized her since I was a kid, watching all my favorite cheesy eighties movies like Big Business, The Secret of My Success, and Big, over and over again. Our culture mythologizes her, paints her as the place to be, so full of potential. She might even be The One.
Everyone comes to New York seeking something very similar: belonging. Especially in the communities in which I run—the queer, the kinky, the subversive, the social change junkies—we have all come from other places, other more small-minded, limited, restrictive places, hoping that the Great Mythology of New York will hold true for us, too: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free …” wrote Emma Lazarus in her famous poem “The New Colossus,” printed on the Statue of Liberty.