Every year, when all the TV channels started playing the film—nay, masterpiece—on repeat as soon as December struck, I'd watch in a trance, admiring the complete freedom Kevin has as he sightsees and walks through Central Park and hits up all the major shops (with a personal pizza on-hand, mind you). And each time I watched, my dream was only further reinforced: I just had to live in this dazzling city. When the time came, I started scouting colleges in the city and, eventually, I got a proverbial golden ticket in the form of an acceptance letter.
And so I made it happen. After 12 years of living in Texas, I left everything I knew and moved to New York to attend college and pursue a career in writing. Everyone thought I was crazy, and no one was shy about sharing their thoughts: "You don't know anybody!" "The city is too big!" "It's dangerous there!" Um, eye roll much? Kevin McCallister made it out alive and he was, like, 8—and didn't have a cell or even a photo ID.
The view of New York City in the movie is from a child's perspective: There are colossal skyscrapers lining every block, everything is a vessel for a new experience (and story!), and, well, there are simply endless things to do and see.
My first year there, I did all that I could to claim my New Yorker cred: I learned how to navigate the subway, how to swiftly traverse dense crowds of people, and where to score the best pizza slices. While I worked on my journalism skills for school some nights, others I'd take the 1 train downtown and explore different neighborhoods, finding my own favorite spots (because, well, FAO Scwharz had since shuttered—sorry, Kevin).
But really, I didn't need be doing anything at all in order to feel happy in my chosen home. I can't count how many times I've simply sat on a bench in Central Park (like the pigeon lady) or outside a random coffee shop simply watching the goings-on around me and then proceeded to jot down vignettes to incorporate into a story I'd write.
Whenever anyone asks me why I moved to NYC, I really do say it was all because of Home Alone 2. But only recently did I realize why, exactly, the film inspired such mobility in me. The view of New York City in the movie is from a child's perspective: There are colossal skyscrapers lining every block, everything is a vessel for a new experience (and story!), and, well, there are simply endless things to do and see. For me, all of that excitement of a totally new and bustling atmosphere was alluring. Growing up in the suburbs, I lost that wonder early on—the wonder that I still have when I waltz around the streets of New York. Turns out that that curiosity and continual interest is necessary in order for me to thrive. To me, even after a dozen years, this city still feels like something that needs to be figured out.
I really don't see myself leaving the city ever. And while I may not be traipsing around on my dad's credit card à la McCallister (if only), I'm doing what I love in place that basically melts me into the heart-eyes emoji. And while there are so many great parts about living here, the best is that I can order a large cheese pizza, all to myself—whenever I want. So basically, I do share plenty in common with Kevin McCallister—my inspiration.
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