Hey there, New York – it’s me, the Tiny Dancer.

Do you know what today is? It’s a special one for us. On this day five years ago, I entered your massive universe wide-eyed, jobless, and barely knowing a soul, wondering if any of my dreams with you would ever come true. Your streets were a confusing puzzle, your bustle vastly different from the serene country roads I came from. I wanted us to become companions, intimately knowing each other while sharing secrets, fears, and hopes.

Companions we are.

I look back five years ago, and my how our relationship has changed. You have become my home, sewing me into the seams of your tapestry. I am just as much a part of your story as you are mine.

As I sit and write to you now, my emotions heighten, and I feel the depths of what my life with you has given me. With you, I’ve felt both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. You have stretched me, strengthened me, used me, and loved me. I’ve worked five jobs, nestled now in an amazing foundation, learning and growing and absorbing as much knowledge as possible. I’ve performed in theaters in Times Square, in lofts in the East Village, and on blacktop in Queens. I’ve danced until my toes ripped, babysat backstage at the Koch Theater, and auditioned in a studio with a cat meandering through my legs in plié. I’ve met people I’ve admired my entire life, in awe as I shook their hand, and people I never would’ve known who became my NYC family.

I could go on and on about the amazing moments we’ve shared, and typically that’s what these letters to you hold. But today, I recognize the life we’ve built together and just how far we’ve come. Five years ago, I felt like a tiny visitor in a big town; I didn’t know where to go, who to talk to, or what to do. But I handed you the pen and gave you the freedom to help write our story. Now, page after page has been filled with park picnics, spilled wine, getting caught in the rain, crowded subway cars, sweaty rehearsals, rerouted commutes, broken grocery bags, and the realization that quarters are truly the most valued coin. I have pages covered with late-night movies, doing laundry during blizzards, barbeques, Saturday brunch, bad manicures, mismatched socks, and tea for two.

These day-to-day memories are so precious to me. Why? They mean I have a life with you.

I don’t think I could ever fully put onto paper what this anniversary feels like, New York. These words do not suffice, and yet they’ll have to do. All I can say is that you and I are different now than we were five years ago, and we have each other to thank – at least in part.

So, to you, New York:

Here’s to the last five years.
Here’s to the uphill climbs and the smooth-riding trails.
Here’s to your broad intricacy and endless contradictions.
Here’s to who we were and where we were.
Here’s to what we’ve become.
Here’s to the people and their stories and their openness to share.
Here’s to the quiet spot by the lake and to the long-blowing taxi horns.
Here’s to the late nights laughing and the early morning coffee.
Here’s to expired MTA cards and just missing the train.
Here’s to being a regular at the restaurant down the street.
Here’s to giving a cup of sugar to the next-door neighbor.
Here’s to knowing where the stepstool is to reach the popcorn at the store.
Here’s to waiting on a favorite park bench.

And here’s to what’s to come for us, New York. We’re about to evolve again.

Are you ready? Me, too.

Love always,

The Tiny Dancer

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