It was wonderful those first few months. I felt like Annie when she first descended upon Daddy Warbucks' mansion. I ate Thai food almost every day. I did lots of ecstasy and ordered from kosmo.com and was there for the birth of vodka and redbull and when all the cool restaurants were serving nouveau comfort food.
Then I was there when everyone subsequently lost their jobs. The 2000 election debacle. September 11th. Anthrax lurking in every envelope; our receptionist sorting our mail with gloves on. What sounded like fighter jets constantly overhead. Sitting on the subway, heart racing and scared out of my mind because the lights had gone out. Bad coke that tasted like dirt and made my throat hurt for days. Moving to an apartment smaller than my college dorm room and running my credit card bill up past $10k. Getting laid off (and learning that company loyalty is not always rewarded.)
But even when it was raining, my coffee guy was there and he always had my order ready (medium w/ cream and sugar) when he saw me coming. The woman who ran my drycleaner opened her own Chinese bakery and it was my dollar she proudly displayed to represent her first sale (a delicious fig cookie.) And when one evening, I hailed a cabbie to take me back to Brooklyn and subsequently realized I had no money, asked him to take me to an ATM and then found that the citys' ATMs were all inexplicably "down" (blackout preview?), he still took me home and waited while I ran inside for a check - finally telling me in broken English, "If I had a daughter, I'd want someone to do the same for her" - I realized - it's not New York, the city, that creates the magic, it's all these people.
That's what I miss.