Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New York

I visited New York for the first time almost exactly nine years ago, during the May of my junior year of college. I met him about a month later in Seattle where we're both from. In both cases I was pretty much hooked immediately and it's fair to say that neither one has made it all the way out of my system yet. The fact that I'm saying goodbye to him on the street corner on this sunny Tuesday is but one way that my past and present collide so hard in this place that it's almost unbearable. It leaves me with this reeling sensation that time is collapsing around me, that all the things I've done in the past nine years didn't really happen, or even if they did, they don't really matter.

I am back in New York for a few days for work and this visit feels much better than the last. Last time was only a few months after I'd moved away and it was too soon. It was also in July, which is generally a terrible time to visit New York. April is one of the few times of year (May, September and early October being the others) that you could really be convinced that New York is the most idyllic city you've ever seen, with all of the restaurants opening out onto the street and people eating and drinking and looking happy all over the sidewalks at all hours. There is nothing I miss more about New York than the restaurants.

Actually, I miss my friends even more. I had dinner my first night in town with three publishing girlfriends who I've known since we were all assistants. Back then we were excited to be working around books at all, now they're editors and the head of an agency respectively and we had lots to celebrate, including one freshly minted bestseller. In ten years, I tell them, we'll say we knew each other when.

Being back, I can't quite fathom how I ever lived in a place so cramped and so loud with so many people (does that make me sound old? I did just turn 30), how did I write here? How did I sleep? But I did live here, and I did love it.

I'm so glad I came to New York. Maybe just a little more glad that I left.


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  2. Interesting post. Although I would say that the crowds and density of human activity are what make NYC so interesting in the first place. Without that, you wouldn't have all the rest.
    It's probably a good time for you to leave though. NY is a great place to be a poor young professional in - great networks to rely on, free entertainment, good cheap food if you know where to look, and a great place to be rich in, once you're 50+. But in mid-career, it's probably a really tough place to save any money in.

  3. i just visited San Francisco (where I used to live) and I had such a lovely time. A part of me wanted to move back, until day four of very little sleep from all of the city noise... But I'm so grateful I enjoyed myself, I think I found my heart I left there 14 years ago.