We were in NYC this weekend, down for a day-jaunt to show Lockbox the sights. So much to see and so much to try to explain. I rambled off and stuttered up a few times when I was trying to specify why New York hits me between the eyes. Lots of it is ubiquitous to any city...energy, cultural diversity, great food, art, sheer beauty. But there are so many little, funny things that are just New York although some of them are hard to describe.
The ubiquitous yellow cab. The way pedestrians brazenly and energetically jaywalk anytime and anywhere they please. The rows of stalls in china town with bright heaps of produce side-by-side with the booths selling cheap scarves and knock-off watches. The way people push through almost unfeelingly to cram into a subway car or elevator but also wink at little kids on the sly and help carry strollers up and down subway steps without being asked.
The way cheap black umbrellas accumulate in the gutters after a sudden, gusty rain like a batch of fallen blossoms. The smell of the over-sugared, roasted almonds in the sidewalk carts on a winter day. The glitter that lingers in the street dust the week or two after Chinese New Year. The ultra-chichi ladies with their glamly costumed mini-dogs and the completely wacky, raggy bums in the parks.
The first few times I was in the city I didn't like it at all. I felt swept under by the volume, the dirt, the sheer over-done grit of it all and couldn't enjoy it. It was like that the more than once, I'd guess about the first three or four times. New York slyly grew on me when I wasn't looking, the real clincher was when I spent a day walking all over the city with A's cousin, a life-long New Yorker who showed me the city she loved. The affection she felt came shining through and suddenly I could see it too, irreversibly, like one of those Magic Eye puzzles and I wondered why I couldn't see it all along.
So much fun to feel like I own a tiny piece of this city emotionally and to now be able to take my sister along on a tour of what makes me smile here. I hope she understands a little bit of what I'm sharing when I tell her how it feels that ride the Staten Island Ferry in the heat of a July day or stroll the Union Square Farmer's Market and buy rooftop honey from beekeepers living the golden urban life above this pavement. Its a good world, and a strange adventure but one I feel really lucky to be living.