I am on sip number three of vodka lemonade number two, when he tilts his head and asks: what is it exactly, that I love so much about New York City? And I have so much to say, but no real way of explaining myself without sounding crazy. Not in this small, dark bar, that’s made for even smaller talk with strangers, anyway.

What I want to say, is that I like how the air hangs low and heavy with noises that I didn’t even know existed before I came here; sounds so loud they cut through my headphones. Sounds so surreal I want to slice them up and ship them off to my friends and family back home, so they know just what I mean when I say:

 New York City is just so noisy.

I’d play them the almighty roar of fire-truck engines in the evening. And the slow, steely yawn of the heavy doors that guard the city’s biggest buildings. I’d let them hear the bump-and-rattle of the laundry carts on the side-walk, groaning under the weight of somebody’s clothes in summer. And the determined thwack of a snow shovel, slicing through the ice in winter. I’d explain that yes, NYC hums the same late-night lullaby for everyone; sirens and shouting, bachata and rap. But that when I listen closely, I’m certain it’s conducting a special symphony, just for me, above the din.