Friday, October 02, 2009
it's midnight in manhattan, this is no time to get cute.
one of my midnights in manhattan. this is no time to be trying to take a picture.
view from my friend fern's apartment. that's the empire state building. at night you can see all the flashes of the tourist's cameras.
okay, so i had this whole post about how much i loved my trip to new york. about what i saw and what i did and blah blah blah. i deleted it and started over.
because the thing about being in new york, about me being in new york is what can i say that hasn't been said, hasn't been sung, written, or waxed on and on about?
like that has ever stopped me before. so i started over.
and i will say this and bunch of other stuff. I LOVED IT. i felt at home there. sure at first, the first morning, i was overwhelmed, jet lagged, hungover, missing my family. my friend fern went to work and the day and the trip stretched out before me. so yeah, i was overwhelmed.
but there's this thing about being there that before you know it it's just in you. and it's you and 8 million plus people moving within controlled, fluid, chaos and it's like you've been there all your life.
it helps to love to walk, know east from west, north from south, be able to figure out the subways in short order. though really, you can't get lost on an island. eventually you are back where you started or recognize something familiar.
waiting for the subway
it also helps to have been visiting my friend, fern. everyone should have a friend who can say 'go to this building, head to the second floor and look up.' that city is so amazing on the surface, we've all seen that, whether we've seen that in person or just on the big or small screen. but if you just take one side street over, take a different set of stairs, look in a different direction, you will see what truly makes that city more amazing than you could ever imagine.
and it also helps that there is just this knowing about new york. like it has its identity fully intact. and it is just there to offer you the chance to be in it. to just be. i felt more at home in the 5 days i was in new york than i ever did in many of the other places i've lived.
i won't bore you with the whole travelogue because there really is too much, but i'll give you my brief snapshot. enjoy! (and please bear with me those of you who have already been bored by these pictures;) )
the metropolitan museum of art was amazing. i just mean the building itself. i didn't have much time there as we went simply for friday evening cocktails. but i was so taken with the building. just being inside it felt amazing and awe inspiring. if you had no idea before what "gothic" meant in terms of an architectural style you really couldn't come away from there without being totally clear. and totally moved. there's something about being so small and surrounded by so much huge, solid beauty. it was well...hard to put into words.
the new york city public library. okay, why aren't all libraries this fantastic? shouldn't it be mandated that a library offer impressive surroundings with which to engage the mind and fascinate the senses? at the very least a big heavy door you can barely open yourself? the whole building is incredible but the second floor ceiling is amazing. simply amazing. i sat for a half an hour just taking in the whole scene. wanting to share this with my boys. you couldn't sit there and not feel as though there was an importance to this building. that the history, and what it stood for, not to mention its purpose and its contents, well...the building was worthy of the knowledge it contained.
st. patrick's cathedral. what can i say? when you walk in it's just so intense it's hard to get a grasp of it right away. thankfully right to my right as i walked in was the virgin de guadalupe altar. how fitting. i practically fell into the pew. i was simply overcome. my spirituality is a long island iced tea of religious and spiritual beliefs and labels at best. i won't bore you with the details. and i know organized religion is just such a hot button for people. but to sit and be so fully absorbed by a place, to openly weep because the beauty of the spirit is just that intense, well...if there's anything else to say about that i don't know what it is.
central park is more beautiful than you can imagine.
riding bikes in NYC is easier than you think it is.
having a local dive bar seems an essential part of one's daily life. and yet i have missed out on this. WTF?
being in grand central terminal made me wish i had a packed bag, a ticket, and a destination.
and i wish i had a picture but just know that heckling a big city comic is way more fun and way more satisfying than you'll ever know.
and yeah, i walked through times square. meh.
i could see myself in new york more permanently. living, being, etc. there's an inspiring element to the juxtaposition of the endless sea of people moving amongst the solid and unmoving shore of buildings. unmoving, but no less alive.
i have never been one to appreciate architecture and buildings. okay, sure i've appreciated them. but to fully experience their importance, what they bring to the world. and to their little corner of it. the importance of place has always been in me. but this idea of a single building contributing to that importance, in some case "making it." it's new and i am inspired by it.
and the slices of life you get exposed to on a minute by minute basis. conversations you overhear on the subway, snippets you get when people are passing by, the fully hardcore crazy right in front of you, subtle and not so subtle bits of life being lived all together on one amazing island. there's none of this fake politeness. the lowering of voices to shield your life from those who are living their life right next to you. it's authentic. and i like that.
if you can't see it, the sign says Lawn Closed Temporarily. yeah.
one of my favorite moments was sitting in zabar's deli with an underwhelming bowl of matzoh soup listening to the two old jewish men across from me. they were 80 if they were a day. and yet with detail and clarity they were reminiscing about the blintzes one of the mens mother made when they were little. they remembered her bringing them out to the stoop and how they'd all stop playing and crowd around. how the recipe was so guarded and died with her. this was a long and loving conversation and i just basked in it.
being in new york made me realize that the sparkle i thought i had lost and sought to find there was not there at all. it was still in me, just stagnate. in some cases misused, given away without purpose. i didn't need to find the sparkle, i needed inspiration to put it to use.
beyond just absorbing and being absorbed by new york, the promises my soul made to my self in the met to seek more beauty, in the library to seek more knowledge and acknowledge what i already know, and in st. patrick's cathedral to honor spirit, both within me and around me, are the best kinds of souvenirs from the best kind of travel. the kind that exposes you to new surroundings, ideas, experiences, and to those parts of yourself that have been there all along. you just never knew it.
and now i do.