Dear cities of the world,
Thank you for being there when we need you the most. Thank you for allowing us to sprawl across your parks in the heat of the afternoon and for lending us an ear and a coffee at 2am, when it’s raining and the light’s going out. Thanks for sending help at just the right times: a friendly taxi driver, a free train ride, an unexpected happy hour, a smile from a perfect stranger — when god knows all we needed was a smile from a perfect stranger.
Thanks for the education. For the libraries, the books, the knowledge, the scholars, the debates, the conversations, and the arguments. Yeah, even the arguments. We always come out of those things with more. Thanks for helping us avoid small talk by always making sure there’s something big to talk about — even if those big things are sometimes, y’know, shitty.
The burger shops; the burritos; the late-night taco stands; the pasta bars; the sushi trains; the noodle shops; the cocktails; the dumplings; the pizza; the ramen; the guy who stands on the corner and sells roast chestnuts, smiling, for 12 hours a day; the masala dosa, the poutine; the chicken parma; the many variations of the chicken parma; the rice paper rolls; the champ; the lasagna; the exploding pastry of a fresh croissant at 8am; the gelato; the ice cream; the ice cream vendor who gives you a free scoop because he just feels like it; the peking duck; the massaman curry; the tea; the coffee; the free refills; the way free refills make us feel like we’re winning, like all we’re ever really looking for is a free refill — thanks.
Thanks for welcoming, with open arms, so many of us and so many before us. They helped build you a soul. Thanks for keeping them safe for long enough to do that. Don’t ever lose that. Whatever happens, it’s all you are. No matter how many towers they put up, you’re only ever as tall as your culture is deep.
Thanks for the inspiration. For the art. Thanks for The Clash, for Bruce Springsteen, and the Wu-Tang Clan. Thanks a lot for Nirvana. Thanks for Havana, for Buenos Aires, for Seoul, for London, for Rio, for Bangkok, for Ho Chi Minh, for New York, for Nashville, for Istanbul, for Memphis, for two-tone, for grunge, for punk, for K-Pop, for hip-hop, for blues, for jazz, for samba, for salsa, for tango, for b-boys, for allowing people the freedom to move. Thanks for Gangnam Style. That was fun for a while.
Thanks for helping us get lost, whether in the depths of your night or in your massive dawn. Thanks for teaching us that streetlights are a type of lighthouse and that park benches are the best places for first dates. And anniversaries. Thanks for curbs, stairwells, and other spots for us to gain some perspective, just by sitting. Thanks for gutters. They help with perspective too.
Thanks for keeping us on our toes. For roughing us up, stressing us out, and putting us down. You keep us humble. Thanks for the opportunities — even the missed ones. It’s nice to know they were even there.
Thanks for looking like home when we catch you in just the right light.
We appreciate it.
PS. Your public transport sucks.
What do you want to thank the cities of the world for? Let us know what you’d say in your own #urbanloveletter.