my first memories of new york

I think I was about 5 or 6 years-old.

I remember taking the B train into Manhattan from Brooklyn with my parents. We’d go out to eat at a steakhouse or an Italian restaurant that has since closed its doors.  Or we would run other errands that I can’t seem to recall. Memories are unreliable that way.

I loved going into the city at night, when it was extra bright and shiny (don’t underestimate the power of ‘bright and shiny’ to a 6 year-old with a short attention span). I loved going for so many reasons, whether it was for the towering skyscrapers, the bustling nightlife or the smell of honey-roasted peanuts and shish-kebobs filling the air.

But my main reason for loving it so much, the thing I most looked forward to were the sidewalks. Every so often, we would come upon a point where the ground looked as if it had bits of silver glitter engrained in the pavement. I was so bewitched by it. I wanted to dance on it, run my hands against it, stare at it. How did this glitter get here? Who put it there? And how come the sidewalks in Brooklyn don’t look like this? 

And I thought, this place is so magical.

To this day, when I see those sparkling sidewalks, I’m reminded of my bright-eyed sense of wonder and my romanticized view of the city. It comes rushing back to me, the same way certain smells can instantly trigger a memory or emotion.

Let’s reminisce…what are your first memories of your hometown? What’s the earliest you can recall?

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19 responses to “my first memories of new york”

  1. colleen says:

    i too remember my first encounters with nyc at 5. and the glitter in the sidewalks.

    my first memories of virginia are driving down the road i lived off of – rolling hills, lots of trees, lots of turns – and realizing how truly and deeply i loved the beauty of it. like it make my heart ache a little. and i realized why it was exactly that people said "virginia is for lovers".

  2. Much to My Delight says:

    This is proof that my first time seeing NYC was as an adult and not a wide-eyed child. The first thing I noticed about the sidewalks were all the stomped on pieces of gum that had turned into black splotches over the years! But the city is still a very magical place (and I am now going to look for the glitter today when I walk about:).

    I had the same feelings when my parents would drive me to Houston from our small town of Galveston. There is something so glorious about a big city when you're a little person!

  3. Little Rus says:

    What a beautiful post and photos! Sounds like a love story. I've never been to NY, but it fascinates me and I hope to visit it some day. x

  4. Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird says:

    A place with glitter on the sidewalks? Yes please!

  5. rolala says:

    What a lovely memories! I recall those glittery sidewalks as well but I was thinking of how I could dig it up lol. The B train still runs but on a different line now.

  6. jillian m. says:

    Ah, you're totally right! I forgot that the B line has changed about upteen million times! Thanks for the heads up…I made the correction.

  7. jillian m. says:

    So true! It's like the little fish in a big pond feeling. It's all kinds of exciting when you're a young'n.

  8. jillian m. says:

    That sounds gorgeous. I'd love to see Virginia someday (and not just drive through it on my way to Florida!).

  9. Gloria says:

    I still feel that way when I come across a glittery sidewalk!

  10. Marissa says:

    This is such a great post, Jillian! It really exemplifies how talented you are as a writer. And thanks for making us notice the little things in life.

  11. jillian m. says:

    You don't know how much that means to me, Marissa. Thanks so much.

  12. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    NYC is sooooo magical! It's probably the first city memory I have as well.

  13. colleen says:

    hey! you got the replies to appear. yay!

  14. sherri lynn says:

    I love this post! You have such a way with words… you can really evoke memories and feelings by the things you share.

  15. jillian m. says:

    Thank you, Sherri Lynn! You're very kind.

  16. Jamillah says:

    Aw, this is one of my first memories too.

    I'm so sorry I haven't planned our little double. How about like after v-day week so week of the 20th?

  17. Ashley says:

    Very cute :)

    My first memories with san diego definitely have to do with playing on a green lawn in the sun, of course :)

  18. Alexa says:

    This is silly, but I remember street signs and how I learned to read. I was really small–around 2–and I was riding in my carseat and calling out the words of all the little towns as we wound through them, my parents helping me.

    Wow, thanks for helping me remember that! Need to go write it down :)

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