Thank You New York. Forever An Incomplete Introduction

Akshay Ramanathan
4 min readDec 25, 2022

Memo: Written on JetBlue’s 10:15 AM MCI to JFK. Mr. Nelson, your exuberance and enthusiasm for my city was the catalyst to punching publish.

Amidst unwritten articles, half baked ideas, and stuck under the smattering of stickies notes that are slowly falling off my wall, has long sat an introduction, to what I realized yesterday, will forever remain an incomplete “thank you note” to the city I love and have come to call home.

I have gone to college, graduate school, and worked in corporate New York. I’ve fallen in like, lust, and love many times. I’ve pursued different majors, careers, and bounced from one borough to another. I’ve moved away and moved back. Then moved away again. And then back again! And then after all that… did it all over again! I literally bought the same Ikea furniture set three separate times.

I’ve succeeded and triumphed as well as failed and fucked up more times that I have a total of toes and fingers. I have led, followed, won, lost, and done many a dance across the tightrope. Through it all I’ve made friends across the world, lived more lives than any cat can count, and especially in the last three years have evolved tremendously as a man and human being. Yet after 15 years I haven’t even scratched the surface of possibilities and opportunities this city offers.

My powerful, deep, and often unexplainable affinity for New York City stems not from its stone or steel, but from the souls of its’ citizens. I’ve looked through their eyes, tried to stand in their shoes, and feel blessed to have gotten more than just a glimpse of the brightest, realest, and rawest humans ever.

I’ve sat next to celebrity superstars and shaken the hands of elite executives, experiences which I assure you, are not nearly as cool, as my morning exchanges with the guy at the coffee cart, or the subway attendant who always wishes me a good day, or the pride I see in my barbers face as he tells me about his kid’s glowing report card.

I’m older now. Late nights clubbing, too much pizza, and a life lived at the speed of sound, while not entirely things of the past, are consciously curated blue moon events. 2023 will be the first year in over a decade, I say “bye bye Brooklyn” and make my largest withdrawal from New York. A concession or trade that comes in favor of personal development, slow travel, and more focused work on my business. All reasons while perfectly sensible are still accompanied by a tremendous sense of loss.

For most of us whose last name isn’t Rockefeller, Dell, or Hilton, and whose face or art hasn’t been so popularized as to make stepping out in public unfeasible, know that the real New York is not lived in the skyline. New York City is lived on the ground, in the trenches, and face to face with others. Life in The City is a full contact sport, one better played by bus drivers and bar tenders than boardroom bullies. While away, I will maintain an “Empire State of Mind,” but this game called New York, is one I will miss playing on a daily basis.

Ahead of my adventures far east, I know my passion for this place will continue to be tested. Having lived in the India, the United States, Dubai, Argentina, Miami, Los Angeles, and more recently Kansas City, I have yet to find a place more interesting, dynamic, and as juicy as the Big Apple.

If I started this a letter of immense gratitude, a few years ago, I would have taken a very long pause before telling you, I don’t know where to start at all. A truth, which a few years prior to that, I wouldn’t have even been able to articulate. I would have just appeared frustrated and felt foolish. Unable to formulate an idea or feeling that maybe simply wasn’t ready to be expressed.

But today, I’ll tell you that it’s taken me, someone who has started over more times than years on their clock, a solid 15 years, to realize that the hardest part of doing anything new is to just …. start.

Start somewhere. Anywhere. It’s okay. It doesn’t matter. But start!

It’s awkward, weird, uncomfortable, annoying, messy and more. And much like life in New York, starting something new can be noisy, crowded, dirty, dense, and difficult.

But if these past few years have taught me anything, it’s that the present isn’t an ongoing dress rehearsal. It’s the actual show. It’s my show. More importantly it’s your show. And regardless of what button you are hitting, be it publish, record, or send… your life is only lived 1-way, live, and can only be lived by you.

My hope is that whatever you start takes you away from the people, places, and things that no longer serve you and support your future goals.

That what you start takes you toward something you are passionate about and toward serving an audience who really needs your help.

That what you start or where you start it, is something or somewhere you truly love.

Thank you to the brilliant souls who make New York and made my year amazing.

Don’t wait 15 years, months, or even days to start something joyous, to express your gratitude, or share your love.

Don’t think you need a conclusion before beginning an introduction.

This was an incomplete introduction written by a forever incomplete Akshay. Both he and I are cool with that.

Happy holidays and cheers to a great 2023.

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