Consider the trivial but revealing hallmarks of urban hipsterdom: faux vintage photography, the handlebar mustache, and vinyl record players all hark back to an earlier time when people were still optimistic about the future. If everything worth doing has already been done, you may as well feign an allergy to achievement and become a barista.
New Yorkers love the bigness -- the skyscrapers, the freedom, the lights. But they also love it when they can carve out some smallness for themselves. When the guy at the corner store knows which newspaper you want. When the barista has your order ready before you open your mouth. When you start to recognize the people in your orbit, and you know that, say, if you're waiting for the subway at eight fifteen on the dot, odds are the redhead with the red umbrella is going to be there too.
My first decade of living in a metropolis was like, I was a people watcher. It meant the world to me to talk to strangers. I got excited about the fifth time I'd see the same person in the same bodega. I loved getting to know a certain clerk or barista. It took on a whole big meaning for me because of that atomization that suburban people do start to feel.