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See You Later: A Farewell to New York City

Cal
April 3, 2015

Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887–1986). East River from the Shelton Hotel, 1928. Oil on canvas; 12 x 32 in. (30.5 x 81.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1986 (1987.377.3)
Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887–1986). East River from the Shelton Hotel, 1928. Oil on canvas; 12 x 32 in. (30.5 x 81.3 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 1986 (1987.377.3)

«In celebration of the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards exhibition, now on view in the Ruth and Harold D. Uris Center for Education, the Teen Blog will feature guest posts by Scholastic Gold Key Award writers from New York City through the close of the exhibition on May 17. This week's blogger, Cal, was awarded a Gold Key for his personal essay/memoir, "Sure, I Guess."»

I'm going to college in six months! I'm relieved. There were points in the infamously gross college process where I didn't think that would happen. I'm excited. I'll be going to a new school for the first time in twelve years. I'm scared. Last September, my English teacher pointed out that this would be the first and only time in my life where I'd have no idea where I'd be a year from now. The college process has been very surreal. It sort of felt like the goal was to get into college. I've done that. Now, I actually have to go? My mind hasn't always thought that far ahead.

Something I have been thinking about an awful lot lately is that I love New York City. I love everything about it—even the subway system that New Yorkers love to rag on at every chance. I know it's dirty, and schedules are always subject to inconvenient changes, but I can never get over that for two dollars and seventy-five cents and a little patience I can go pretty much anywhere I want in this massive city. It's magical, honestly. I wasn't one of those kids who started taking the subway by themselves when they were in the seventh grade, but in the last three years I've become really comfortable here. I've come to fall in love with this place. There are certain corners of this city that truly feel like mine. I know them inside and out; they are home.

There are many paintings of New York City in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Met. One that stood out to me was The Cathedrals of Broadway by Florine Stettheimer, depicting one of my favorite parts of New York City—Broadway. As I admired this painting, it hit me: I'm not going to live here next year. I know that's good for me, but I also know that I glorify this city just like Stettheimer did. I don't want to leave, not because it's my home (though it is), but because it's a beautiful place. It's beautiful in ways that Boston, Ithaca, Beloit, and Wisconsin will never be. As I look at paintings like Georgia O'Keeffe's East River from the Shelton Hotel, which portray the smog and other gross things about NYC, I can't help thinking about how I love those things, too.

I'm sad to say goodbye. I hope whatever job I manage to scrape up after college will allow me to live here. It took a long time, but I've finally achieved this comfort and loving relationship with the city. I really hope college is just a "see you later" and not a true farewell.

For more teen writing, please visit the exhibition in the Uris Center for Education!

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Cal is a guest blogger for the teen blog. His work is currently on view in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards exhibition (March 16–May 17, 2015).