WARNING: The following post may contain excerpts of unedited sappiness. Since it’s 6 am on the east coast and I’m still wide awake, I cannot be held responsible for meandering into the “I love you man” stage, sans alcohol, and reminiscing about the glory days of life in New York.
That said, here we are, summer vacation: day 8. Technically, it’s still raining. And technically, I still have a cold. But neither setback has stopped us from reacquainting ourselves with the homeland, spending time with dear friends and loved ones, and generally appreciating all the beautiful things about New York.
Sure, the rent on a decent space (read: a bedroom that can fit a bed and a dresser, and a bathroom where you don’t have to bang up your knees to do your business) in a decent neighborhood (read: the ratio of crackheads to non-crackheads is weighted somewhat toward the non-crackheads) will probably run us well over $2500 month, but what’s a glamorous writer to do if not live in total squalor for the sheer sake of experience? For something to write about? Granted, we’ve spent the last three years spreading out in Colorado, enjoying the space, cheap housing, and – despite what the locals say – utter absence of traffic. But we’re New Yorkers. We’ll adapt, right?
It’s a tradeoff. We get rid of the cars in favor of trains and cabs. And maybe bikes, but unlike our friend Fursey here, that part doesn’t come so easy for me. Something about navigating traffic and horses and cops and bike messengers and spontaneously opened car doors and garbage trucks and potholes, all while trying to balance yourself (and your belongings) on a little tin-framed, two-wheeled transport device – it just doesn’t sit well with me. Not to mention the fact that I’m a lazy slug.
Yes, New York is insane (or is that for the insane?), but if you look, there is still plenty of beauty and wonder. The sunset over Washington Square Park. Part of Manhattan reflected in a resevoir in Central Park. The FOOD… oh my god, I’d all but forgotten what real pizza and real bagels taste like. I think I gained 10 pounds on this trip, but I’m still not done. I have to cram in as much as possible to get me through the pizza and bagel draught in Denver. I’m not sure if it’s the altitude or the water or what, but Coloradans just can’t seem to get those two essentials right!
I don’t mean to get down on Denver. It’s been a wonderful home to us for the past few years, and we’ve enjoyed all of the things we’ve been able to see and experience out West. But New York is just home for us. And it’s really not about the crazy rent or the sunset or the fact that nothing ever closes and public transportation can get you anywhere for about 2 bucks. Hell, it’s not even the food (though the food is a close second). It’s our friends and family here that welcome us back on every visit, that rearrange their calenders to be with us, that cross state lines (shout out to all you NJ and PA residents, woo hoo!) to spend just a few extra minutes in our company.
It’s my best friend Joe, who seemingly just yesterday took my frantic calls from the streets of the city to get the play-by-play report of my fresh-out-of-college job interviews. In just two weeks he’ll be married and I’ll have a new best-friend-in-law, just in time for us to move back here and grow old together (though we’re definitely letting them have kids first). We took a few pictures the other night, and though this one isn’t the sharpest, something about it struck me. Maybe it speaks of the impermanence of things, the speed at which we all change and grow and move, but some things stay the same. Everything has gone on around us, yet here we are, eleven years later, like no time passed.
That particular phenomena – the no time passing thing – only happens with the closest of friends. Like months and years can go by but when you’re reunited, you fall into conversations and memories and laughter like you spent the day together only yesterday. Here’s my dear friend Amy, whom I met at work in NY in 1998 and never ever call despite the fact that she’s one of my favorite women in the world. When we weren’t busy cancelling happy hour on each other, we spent evenings seeing films at the Angelica, sharing mac-n-cheese at Chat-N-Chew, or hanging out for coffee and a few used books at Housing Works. Suddenly, when I wasn’t looking, she became a mom. The best kind of mom – one who refuses to drive a minivan and admits she hasn’t quite perfected the one-handed-stroller-cell-phone-under-chin-Starbucks-latte-drinking-while-manuvering-through-the-city-streets move.
And from the looks of it, she’s doing a great job. Is this a happy kid or what? He didn’t even mind when we took him to Barrow Street Ale House, one of “our places” which also happens to be, coincidentally enough, one of the stops from his mother’s bachelorette party, oh-so-many moons ago. He was so happy to be there that he stayed up way past his bed time just to hang out with us. I can’t wait till he’s old enough to understand English. That’s when I get to tell him all the good stories about his mama!
Not to mention all the good stories to come. You guys – our dear friends and family – have made us feel so welcomed and missed. For all the craziness here, the cost of living, the crowds, the smells, the grime, the fill-in-the-blank of this city, there’s love. Lots of it. Thank you for that, old friends and fiances and babies alike. We can’t wait to come home.