When you move to New York, you really notice the grime that covers the city. It's a thin blackish film that blankets all the public areas, the subway stations and trains, the creaky bodegas, and back seats of taxis. You can't help but to come in contact with it, and you learn to wash your hands frequently.
After a few months, you more or less forget about it, the film.
This shared grime is what makes this city's people so creative, my friend Hellbound Dave has ventured. Like many of Hellbound's speculations, it may very well be deeply true in a spiritual, and perhaps even in a factual, sense.
The grime, after all, comes from the populace of 8.4 million people – It's human sweat and detritus bonded by alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, Adderall, lithium, caffeine, Xanax, curry, marijuana, Klonopin and everything else all mixed up that people pump themselves full of to get by in these close quarters.
This shared coating of filth is what makes New York different than, say, Cincinnati.
Everyone routinely touches this grime in their daily travels, and, as they forget it exists, the heady mixture gradually seeps into their blood, causing them to go sideways a bit.
Sit down at a bar, and chances are the next person over is a DJ, or a writer, or is involved in some fool mission of a singular sort. A sort of agitated creativity is in the blood here, spiritually and possibly even physically.
Other places may give you the space to be creative, but New York compels you to be creative. It's how you define yourself here.