Reasons Why the Big City is Actually Small

Once you’re here long enough New York becomes one big small town. Here’s how:

Seeing people you know from online dating around the City: I may or may not spend countless hours surfing the web for love – but at least I’m not looking for love in ALL the wrong places, just one. And it could turn out to be the right place. But as a professionally amateur online dater/ stalker type – I must say – it is weird when I see someone whose profile I have undoubtedly stalked online. It doesn’t happened too often. But is has happened. Example: two weeks ago at brunch I saw someone I 100% recognized. Later (online) I sent a message that started with, “This might be weird, but…” It was weird. No “might” about it.

Having friends in common with strangers: This has happened a few times. You’ll meet someone at a party, or at school, or through a friend, and you’ll have a friend or acquaintance in common. It’s so weird. Someone you know from home, or summer camp, or study abroad, or from a different “part of life” in the city. Just this week I was on my Instagram feed and a friend from school had posted a picture of someone I met up with at a bar. Who knew!?

Industries are small: Very small. That’s one reason why many of them are so hard to break into. Fashion. Publishing. Acting. Media. You name ‘em! That means if you do really well in an industry, good for you! But… if you totally bomb and suck and you’re the worst… well, word will spread. No pressure. Once you enter an industry you’ll soon realize that everyone has worked with everyone else at some previous job/ competetor.

Seeing the same subway performers: They are big here. New Yorkers usually have a sixth sense as to who is about to pop up and start a performance in the middle of the subway (or it’s really obvious when it’s something like a mariachi band). But when you live here, you start to see the same shows over, and over, and over again. The first time it might be cool. The second time you may think, “Hmm, what are the chances I’d see him again?” But the third time you’re wanting to give away the punch line to all the jokes. Like the 62-year-old man on the 1 train who starts off with one about Michael Jackson, a clock, and when the big hand touched the little hand…

Manhattan is small: No seriously, Manhattan is just under 34 square miles – it ain’t that big! Of course we build up and not out – and we make our selves look bigger than we are – like male birds trying to attract a mate. Fact is: Manhattan is an island (and a small one at that).

Seeing people in clothing from places you know/ love: I enjoy when I see people in the City who are wearing Purdue gear. Or sweatshirts from area high schools in Indiana that I know. Or places that I’ve traveled. Makes me feel connected to them.

Running into friends: It’s always bizzare and great to run into friends, not just in your neighborhood, but randomly when you’re out shopping or at a subway station 100 blocks from home! The. World. Is. So. Small (and Manhattan, as noted, is even smaller).

Seeing the same people in different parts of the city: This may be unique to me because I have a freakishly weird memory. Sometimes when I’m out I’ll see someone and I’ll take note of them. Maybe it’s because they’re beautiful, or have a cool piece of clothing, or a defining characteristic that makes them stand out. Then sometime later (could be the same day or months) I will see them somewhere else in the City. Example: I once saw a little deaf girl signing with her mom on the subway, then months later I saw them in Washington Square Park.

The City is getting smaller and smaller the longer I live here – but it’s not small enough that it can’t contain my ambitions.