I sat down to dinner about 7 tonight outside a cafe in the West 70s. All the other tables were filled and it was still warm, but the sun was behind the buildings. Then as my meal arrived (a Corona and a chicken caesar salad), the sun peeked down one of the side streets, and shone right into my eyes. That feeling reminded me of traveling around France by myself a few summers ago, and I realized one of the reasons I love New York.
Even if you're feeling lonely, you can get up out of your office chair at the end of the day or lock the door on your apartment and go out and find a good place to eat and sit there and watch a world of people walk by and have your coffee and then perhaps go to see a show. Granted, you can't do it every day (not on my budget at least), but once in a while, especially in warm weather, knowing it's all there, just a subway ride away, is a relief of sorts -- the idea that one can have a slice or two of vacation on a work night.
The title of this post is from E.B. White's Here Is New York, and while I do not always think of loneliness (or privacy) as gifts or "prizes," it's nice knowing they can be, if you so choose.