In response to the Penn application essay question, "Why do you want to go here?" I theorized that by default, Philadelphia is the best city for a university ("DC is corrupted by politics, NY by crime and Boston by college students and rats"). Now that I'm a couple of semesters of college closer to not being in college, I'll very soon be picking another city. And not only is New York City my default post-Penn destination, but I've also realized that everyone else has the same idea.
New Yorkers everywhere love themselves, their skyscrapers, John Updike quotes and Woody Allen movies. But what New Yorkers really love is their city. And why shouldn't they? New York really is, arguably, the center of the universe. It's the city that never sleeps (I thought that was Vegas; thanks Yona), and its economy is bigger than Belgium's. Really, it's just bigger and better in general. It's home to all kinds of big and important things. Big.
New Yorkers at Penn are just biding their time, and they bring along a host of city-related superiority complexes. Those from the city (plus all the rest from the entitled but somewhat poseurish tri-state area) own their arrogance, and carry it with them wherever they go. They make all sorts of condescending and obnoxious comments, and pump their fists in the air at the mention of their beloved homeland. And however hard the rest of us try, we can't escape the influence; in fact, we all can't get enough of it. Somehow, the whole campus has just become one big power fantasy. Look around you: there's a little NYC in everyone. It's elitism. It's fabulous. It's Big.
Sure, it's a great city, but it's not the only one. Everyone seems to forget that there are plenty of people of all flavors (artsy, intellectual, artsy-intellectual, power-hungry, power-hungry-intellectual) to be found in all kinds of places. Even in the Midwest (but not really). New Yorkers don't want you to know that you could be just as happy and self-important anywhere. You might even recall that they all laughed robustly and at length after the Times Style Section proclaimed Philly the next borough. Poor Philly. Goddamn New York.
Nonetheless, the NYC fever at Penn is always spreading, and I'm no different from all the others gearing up to funnel into Manhattan. Maybe it's fate, or maybe it's Penn, but perhaps one day, I too will be a New Yorker! Perhaps I too will be justifiably arrogant. Big. Huge even.