Every time I fly into New York nowadays, I can physically feel my skin petrify the way ground does in extreme heat. I can feel myself growing another layer of armor, feel my mind switch into “combat mode” of relative opacity and numbness, dubbed with extreme reactivity to aggression. I put on my exoskeleton.

Quite a change from what I would have felt on the same occasion just a couple of years ago.

But later when I exit Penn Station at 34th St and 7th Ave to the sounds of a homeless girl singing “Hallelujah” and the smell of burnt meat of halal carts, see the setting sun reflect off the canyons of skyscrapers and illuminate dirty gum-stained sidewalks with pink and and orange, then I know – nothing has changed. I still love this city.