Monday, May 08, 2006

Yeah, I Still Heart NY

In 1997, when I graduated college, I did not know what I was going to do with my life. So I moved to New York City. I had visions of living in rapturously beautiful poverty before becoming a fantastically wealthy novelist. What I ended up doing was spending two years shoveling slush in the publishing world before finally leaving the city.

This past weekend, I was back in the Big Apple—I’ve returned many times but this was the first time I’d ever traveled and stayed alone in the city. So there was time to walk the streets, time to lose my thoughts down the towered avenues and time to stand on the corners with the understandable yet still disquieting déjà vu that comes when you return to a place you once lived.

Friday night I spend with a friend and she asked me “do you miss New York.” I could only reply: that’s like asking me if I miss being 22. Sure, you can miss what cannot be had again, but doing so is defeating.

I know my New York is gone, faded away and irretrievable. It’s not even been a decade since my departure, but that’s enough time for this city to become something new. Even had there been no 9/11, the city would have moved on without me. It does that—constant metamorphosis. New buildings, new restaurants, new stores, new patterns to the subway, new people.

Always new people. All around I saw young people, 21, 22, 23, well-dressed and earnestly determined. I was part of that just 8 years ago. Part of the roving fleet of confident young people come to New York because, hell, that’s where you go if you have big ambitions but little direction. That’s where you go when you’re tired of school yet unfinished with freedom.

And I’m glad I moved there. I’m glad I lived two impoverished, frustrating, intimidating yet ultimately inspiring and transforming years in New York City. Being in the city again really made me realize how glad I am to have once been a New Yorker. How much that city sculpted me. How much New York still means to me. Those were good times…even when they weren’t.

Just felt like sharing…


Blogger cakreiz said...

It's been interesting to read the accounts of Amba and Mike Reynolds on the meeting. Sounds like great fun. I'm envious.

On your NYC post, my failing eye sight spotted that you graduated from college in 1977. I thought "he's older than I thought." Upon further review, it was 1997. You're still a pup.

1:59 PM  

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