Whether you buy into Valentine$ Day or not, sometimes something happens to come along on this date that unexpectedly hits you right in the ♥feelz♥. It happened to me today, reading love letters to New York from New Yorkers in the New York Daily News. Some are from celebrities; some from everyday people. Below, you can read one in rhythm and rhyme from Darryl McDaniels, aka D.M.C. of Run-D.M.C., one from J.W. Cortés, an “actor, philanthropist, [and] MTA police officer” I never heard of, and one from me.
As many of you can likely attest, you don’t have to live here to love New York City.
Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC, poses at his booth Darryl Makes Comics during 2019 Los Angeles Comic Con at Los Angeles Convention Center on October 11, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Paul Butterfield/Getty Images)
Darryl McDaniels, aka DMC, Rap Pioneer
DMC The K-I-N-G
Here’s my Valentine letter to The N-Y-C
New York City I still love u
Oh how many hard times we have been through
Hard times are still spreading Just like the flu
But what’s going on
It ain’t nothing new
New York City
You know how we do
You are here for me
Like I am here for you
You will not crack when under attack
It’s a well known fact
You always bounce back
That’s the way it is
And It’s like that
New York where I’m from
New York where I’m at
They thought we’d drop
They think we’ll flop
You cannot stop the place that created Hip Hop
And that’s not all
They all have the gall
To pray and plan for your downfall
But you’ll surprise them
You’ll keep on rising
The greatest city in the world
So all the suckers
Let them leave
For those we’ve lost
We all shall grieve
And our turntables will keep on spinning
This isn’t the end It’s the beginning
Turn up my mic
So I can say it loud
This is my city
And I am proud
In the place to be
And that place for me
Is the NYC
J.W. Cortes attends the Maestro Cares Third Annual Gala Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on March 8, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images) (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
J.W. CORTÉS, Actor, philanthropist, MTA police officer
You may not feel as pretty as before, maybe your eyes don’t have that sparkle like they used to, and you’re feeling run down and tired but when I look at you, I’m sorry, I don’t see that. I just don’t. I still see the girl who could light up the sky like no one else, the one who opened up her heart and shared it with the world. The one who still gives me the chills and the one who I said my first ‘I love you’ to. Maybe you don’t see it now, but I’m telling you baby you are still my number one, my everything. When we get back to being us again, I’m going to make sure we hold each other tighter than ever before, because baby we will always have each other. And that’s not just a thing, it’s everything. Te quiero New York City!
IRIS VANDER PLUYM, New Yorker
My beloved city still holds the same spell over me it always did. No other place has ever felt like *home* to me. It’s where I have that singular feeling of belonging. Where I find my tribe, and found my family. Where I cannot help but trip over countless sparks of joy and inspiration, or fall, headlong and deep, into “wow” moments.
While our city stands battered and beleaguered, beaten down by the pandemic, broken by police violence, besieged by murder and madness, businesses (whether newly-launched lifetime dreams, or monuments to generations of family blood, sweat and tears) ravaged and razed, beset with homelessness and hunger–yet it still stands.
While this merciless season of sorrow and death is visited upon us, I stand here brokenhearted over everyone and everything we have lost. And yet, I have stood here before: the blackouts, 9/11, Hurricane Sandy. I already know what happens next in this movie, for those who have managed to remain. We rise. We mourn our dead. We do not rebuild so much as reimagine-and-build. A new and strange kind of shrine rises up out of the dark ashes and heavy dust of yesterday. A shrine that only New Yorkers who live this day can see: those who can remember, in their hearts and in their dreams, what stood here before.
I will stand, and I will remember.