Start spreading the news…I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!
Descending into John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, New York, I imagine myself landing in the city that so many people dream about for the first time. It’s by far not my first time, I grew up in Jersey for crying out loud, but that feeling still never goes away. There’s so many of them; teeny tiny lights. They’re clustered nearly on top of each other, and appear endless. This is the true definition of population density.
Stepping foot into Manhattan that old feeling rushes back. It’s euphoric, and energizing, and makes me want to scream from the inside out, “ahh, I love you New York!” There really isn’t anywhere else like it.
Walking the old streets again made me feel like I had never left. The smell of Nuts for Nuts, zigzagging the unpleasant bustle of mid-town, instant aggravation. I craved shopping, took one look at Macy’s with lust, then took another look and remembered the vow I made to never step foot in Macy’s on 34th Street again. It’s an anxiety attack jam packed into one old iconic building.
I jaywalk without fear of a ticket, hop in the back of cab to catch up on the daily news, and squeal a bit that I can go so far, for so cheap. I look up at the symbolic Empire State Building and curse myself for never actually making the journey up myself. Then pass the line down the street, the tourists huddled in groups being bombarded by sightseeing companies. I’m just one with the locals; they don’t know I left.
But the even better part is going to the old hang outs. Dirty dives in the East Village and restaurants that deny you a table without a month’s advance reservation. These streets are just every day streets, with everyday people. It’s not chaos, it’s just living. Cab horn beeping, siren blaring, crazies cursing, stroller pushing, frat boys smoking, high heels wearing, beer drinking, cocktail sipping New York!
And I miss the days where I had no pretentions about it. I knew exactly where to get a $2 beer and 2:1 meals. Where live jazz in an unmarked door in the West Village kept me up past my bedtime on a work night. Or when I’d wake in the morning to the sun on a friend’s penthouse balcony in Hell’s Kitchen or to 3 people in a Murphy bed in a studio on the Upper East Side. But that was a different time.
This is my New York now, nostalgia for all that New York is.