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Megan McArdle

Real New Yorkers Can Say Goodbye to All That

If you're born there, it feels natural, almost inevitable, to leave.
Under construction. Always.

Under construction. Always.

Photographer: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

The first year I lived in New York was an utter cliche. There I was, young and fresh and terribly naive, unaware that my whole self was about to transform in ways that I couldn't even begin to imagine. It was as if I’d suddenly burst out into the light, into a whole world that was strange and wonderful and occasionally terrifying. I reached out in all directions, feeling, tasting, seeing, smelling, experiencing this incredible variety of things I’d never known existed. I formed the closest relationships I would ever have. I spoke new words and formed new wants. I tried unfamiliar foods, one after another. I learned to stand on my own and take my first steps into the world.

I’m not speaking metaphorically. I was born in New York. Except for school, I lived there for my first 33 years. And then, eight years ago, I left my home city for Washington D.C., the legendarily poky metropolis that so neatly fuses Southern efficiency and Northern charm.