Whether you’ve been there, lived there, or just have a Pinterest board dedicated to it… you know that there is no other city like New York City.
Known as one of the Art Capitals of the World, it’s no wonder that creatives flock to Manhattan in search of inspiration. But what you might not expect is where you will draw that inspiration from.
My boyfriend and I spent a few days in the City just last week. I was in desperate need of some inspiration, and while I didn’t know what the nature of it would be, I knew that going to New York would provide it. I’m happy to say that I was right.
What surprised me the most was that the inspiration I was looking for wasn’t in the things we planned, but in the moments in between. Here are three of those unexpected ways New York will inspire you.
1. Seeing Art of Every Kind, and I Mean Everywhere
It’s a given that when you go to Manhattan you will be surrounded by art. There is so much art history there, for every type of art you can imagine, it would be impossible not to see it everywhere you go. But I’ve never seen any other place cram as much artistry as they can in every single place possible.
From the monuments to the memorials, the paintings to the music, the statues to the buildings themselves, there is an artist’s hand in everything you see.
A lot of time, as creative types, we’re taught that there is only one way to do things. After years of chipping away at the competitive art world, we just might be lucky enough to get a job doing what we love… if we have a four year degree and experience with at least five things we don’t already.
It can start to feel impossible. And with all this attention on only the specific jobs we’re focusing on, it’s easy to forget that there is more creativity out there than we can imagine.
We’re limiting ourselves from a whole world of artistry to feel inspired by, and traveling to New York will definitely remind you of that.
2. Facing Your Fears (Even the ones you didn’t know you had… )
I am terrified of tunnels. The thought of being in a man-made structure that is underwater, with a whole bunch of other cars, absolutely terrifies me. If I hadn’t gone to New York, I wouldn’t have known that. Two long, congested drives through the Holland Tunnel later (that I promise you brought me closer to God), I had faced my fears.
We artists know how important it is to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. We wouldn’t get anywhere in our careers if we didn’t. It’s hard to continuously put ourselves and our work out there for judgement, but still it has to be done to move forward.
Whether it’s tunnels, bridges, heights, people, public transportation, you name it… New York has a way of putting you face to face with your fears. This teaches us that we are capable of meeting the challenge, including in our personal and creative lives.
(Though if you are afraid of heights, maybe it’s alright to skip the Empire State Building… )
3. Getting Into That NYC Pace
Quite unexpectedly, what inspired me the most about New York City was seeing people jogging in Central Park.
The day was coming to an end. Greg and I were sweaty and tired from hours of walking and subway rides and trying to figure out how to get to places. Don’t even get me started on the state of my feet in the shoes I thought would be comfortable enough (but definitely weren’t).
So we sat for a while in Central Park, and saw all of the crazy and wonderful things you will see there. And I couldn’t help but think about how New Yorkers navigate this city daily and spend full days working, and then come to the park to jog. After how exhausted they must be, they’re still taking the time to take care of themselves. And I thought… I can’t even keep up with exercise back home, and the pace of my life is way slower and easier than their’s must be.
I realized I was holding myself back a lot just by not pushing myself hard enough and keeping up with a certain pace. Artists need to hustle, especially if they are their own business.
We hear all the time that if you want to achieve your dreams you have to work for them. The unfortunate thing is we have to learn that for ourselves, often repeatedly after we hit a rut. New York was that right push of motivation for me, and maybe it can be for you too. But if it’s not, just know that you can find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, so long as you keep your eyes open.
However, New York is certainly a very fun way to find that spark of inspiration.