I know how sad it is that I had never been before. In hindsight, I didn't truly understand that the city was real until I saw it with my own eyes. I guess I just thought of it as a character in a movie; something that only exists on TV. By the time we were leaving town, we were already making plans to return.
While I now recognize that the Big Apple is real, my romantic notion of the city is still firmly rooted in fiction and pop culture. Movies and musical interpretations dominate my understanding of NYC so I might still find some surprises when I return - for better or for worse.
With that in mind, I proudly present to you the Top 10 things I expect the city to deliver the next time I cross the bridge.
1. I hope the hooker that grabs my ass in Times Square has, at least, recently washed her hands.
2. When I visit the converted firehall from the 1984 documentary film Ghostbusters, I want to believe that I won't be scared when Slimer flies around overhead, but in my heart of hearts I know I will be.
3. When Jay-Z and I are hanging out at a Brooklyn Nets game, I expect to be discussed as the mystery feller "hangin' with Hov" on TMZ the next day.
4. When I slam my hands down on a cabbie's car, screaming "I'm walking here, I'm walking here!," I expect him to flip me off.
5. If Home Alone 2: Lost in New York taught me anything, it's that no matter how dangerous the streets of the big city are, when your kids go off on misadventures, everything will turn out well in the end. So Pea and Peanut should be fine if we leave them in the hotel room for an afternoon.
6. As NYC is the concrete jungle where dreams are made of, I will expect to instantly become a handsome billionaire philanthropist who doesn't stress over car payments and a mortgage. Dream a little dream...
7. I expect the descendants of William Cutting and Leonardo Dicaprio to still be vying for supremacy in the Five Points, even though I will never go there... they put dead rabbits on stakes, for gods sake. That's F'in dangerous.
8. I expect there to be more crazy people on the subway than there are normal people. And I'm not talking crazy, like "oh that guy has 20 facial piercings, he's so crazy!" I'm talking "MOVE! MOVE! MOVE! THAT CRAZY GUY'S GONNA PEE ON US!" crazy.
9. Not only do I expect to see Woody Allen filming in a movie in NYC, I expect to be given a supporting role in said film (this expectation ties back to #6 on my list - concrete jungle where dreams are made of).
10. While I know their battles are epic, over there on the Upper West Side of town, I pray the Jets and the Sharks can keep their fierce rivalry in check long enough for me to enjoy an exhibit or two at the American Museum of Natural History - coincidentally, the location of the best Ben Stiller movies ever made, Night at the Museum.