Empire State of Mind

Two Cities, Worlds Apart

My stint in New York City feels just like yesterday. Unlike Perth, a city which greets you with all the trepidation of a young, doe-eyed virgin whilst offering endless days of summer and perfect waves – New York and all its dark, textured, unrivaled glory creeps under your skin like a habit you just never want to kick. It’s a hard city to shake off. It’s where everything comes branded and delivered – even the weed. And it’s not the guns that kill people, it’s the Philly cheese steaks and bacon-wrapped hot dogs that do. New York is a city of millions – crammed on top of each other on one, tiny island.

It’s not the guns that kill people, it’s the Philly cheese steaks and bacon-wrapped hot dogs that do.

It’s not the guns that kill people, it’s the Philly cheese steaks and bacon-wrapped hot dogs that do.

On the flip side, Perth is a smattering of people sprawled out on the edge of one giant island. If you’re lying on the sidewalk here, people will actually check your pulse. New York’s dog population alone is nearly the same size as our city’s people population.

We’re two cities, worlds apart. Although, our motley crew at Cottesloe does bear a striking resemblance to the cast of Jersey Shore (albeit with a better view).

Living in New York is to deal with constant turbulence.

When you’re down, you’re yelling obscenities at the old man in a trench coat who likes to play with his junk while calling you a ‘faggot’ as you walk past him each day.

When you’re up, you’re walking fifteen dogs a day through Central Park; you’re having a beer with Julien Stranger and John Cardiel; you’re swilling beer at rooftop parties with interesting strangers who dance at Juliard; or you’re squabbling over semantics in television shows with a Jewish professor while sitting at your favourite dog park. Or getting a marriage proprosal from said Jewish professor. Shit just happens there; you come across some fairly fascinating people, all with a story to tell.

Back in Perth, the closest thing to crazy is a restaurant closing at 10pm. Yet in this sleepy little city, there’s opportunities to be found. The scene is small, but it’s strong. And while most go on to places like New York to seek the greener stuff, it can never be denied that Perth offers a pretty good head start.

That’s where the two cities dovetail. There are little pockets of goodness in each of them – moments of unbelievable talent – if you really just look. It’s the fools who can’t see.

There are exactly twelve hours’ difference in time between the two cities. Which means, that if I dig a hole deep enough, I won’t end up in China, I’d probably end up in Times Square. And maybe next time I won’t turn back.

Originally published for Kingbrown Magazine

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