1. The subway then: A giant roller coaster that took you to new places.
Now: Gearing up with your book, your music, or Candy Crush, and hoping for a quick trip.
2. Going to school then: A five minute walk to your zone school, or to a place that didn’t mind if the MTA made a fourth-grader late.
Now: The words “We are delayed due to train traffic ahead of us” brings images of walking into class during someone’s presentation.
3. Having a car in the city then: Having easy transportation to places like the doctor, complete with heat or air conditioning.
Now: Spending a half hour looking for parking, and another half hour remembering where it was when you try to go get it.
4. Having a pet then: A furry creature to greet you when you got home from school.
Now: Staring contests with your dog. In 15 degree weather.
5. Bagels then: A morning staple.
Now: Feeling bad about your New Year’s resolutions for a glorious wheel of bread.
6. Mr. Softee then: Conjured fantasies of cherry dips.
Now: Conjures the song that will not get out of your head.
7. Hot dogs then: A delicious treat you were excited to enjoy at the ballgame or the park.
Now: Scarfed down on your rushed lunch break because it’s the cheapest thing in a ten block radius.
8. Halloween then: Tons of candy from your neighborhood or building.
Now: Freezing at the parade, then seeing Rainbow Brite yak on the street outside Webster Hall.
9. The Museum of Natural History then: Giant dinosaurs and interactive exhibits.
10. Now: Live anthropology in every room.
11. Going to big sporting events then: A fun day out with the family that meant cotton candy, foam fingers, and excitement.
Now: You wait all through work to go to the game, then spend half the money you made when your team drives you to drink.
12. Going to other boroughs then: New horizons!
Now: Battling schedule changes and cancellations, all while traversing unknown stations.
13. Snow then: Potential snow days!
Now: Trudging through gray sludge on your way to work.
But it’s not all bad! When you were little, you couldn’t always go see your favorite band when they came to town (and let’s face it, everyone does.)
And you finally understand those “bar” things grown ups always went to with their friends.
So maybe the city changed. Maybe it was you. Either way, admit it: you still love New York.
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