There’s No Place Like Home
As a CU Boulder student currently on vacation in New York, I have been considering what it means to be away from Boulder. What do I miss? What am I happy to get a break from? It will not be long before I must return to Boulder, yet my more melodramatic side feels the need to examine the differences between the two cities.
Perhaps the best thing about being a student at CU Boulder is the town surrounding it. The ‘hipster’ vibe which has earned Boulder the nickname of the ‘Boulder Bubble’ is something I do not receive in New York. The vibrant green grass of the city, the trees, the politeness of the citizens, and the accepting atmosphere surrounding the college are all things I have come to appreciate about Boulder. I also find myself missing the way I felt walking through the campus and breathing in the fresh, dry air. Perhaps it is a silly thing to discuss a place in terms of ‘feelings,’ yet I truly believe that this is the best thing about Boulder. Boulder is stunningly beautiful, and the university campus is a truly lovely one.
The saying that New York is a ‘concrete jungle’ is disturbingly accurate. Boulder may be a densely populated city, but it has nothing in comparison to New York. The citizens of the city also act as though they are trapped in an actual jungle—’kill or be killed,’ as they say. A family member of mine discussed the rudeness and aggressiveness of New Yorkers and stated to me that living so close together, without grass, with little pay and few jobs, and with prejudice and discrimination affects a person. In New York, there simply is not any space. I find myself wondering if this is the case. Even after being here for only a short time, I find that the rudeness of the citizens has not been exaggerated entirely in popular media.
Let us not pretend, though, that New York is the only place with flaws. Boulder is perhaps the most pretentious city on the planet, with prices to match. Boulder is not entirely the ‘hippie’ style village it pretends to be. Boulder is expensive. Boulder is brutally expensive, so much so that it becomes difficult for a person to make their way there. What frustrates me is not even the exorbitant prices; it is instead that Boulder so fervently lives under the illusion that it is a city of the people when instead it is a city of industry and commerce. New York is under no such illusions. While I can appreciate Boulder’s desire to be this free-spirited city, it has taken that free-spirited inclination and transformed it into a commodity which can be bought and sold.
So, what is it that makes New York so unique? Why do multitudes of people make their home in such a crowded, dirty place? Perhaps it is that New York is a sea of activity. There is not a dull moment within the city; there are always things to do and sights to see. New York is also incredibly diverse. It would be almost impossible not to find people to connect with. New York is magical in an odd, particular sort of way. It may not have the picturesque charms of Boulder, but it is unique in its ability to cater to almost every person.
It will be a short time before I arrive back in Boulder, leaving the hustle and bustle of New York behind me. In many ways, I will miss New York. I will miss all the things there is to do and all the sights there are to see. Yet, Boulder is a unique city in its own right. And, as cliche as it may be, I believe that the only proper way to conclude is through the immortal words of Dorothy Gale herself: “There’s no place like home.”