Thursday, September 29, 2011
nibbling on New York
After a few solid days of intense exploration through cute little villages in North Jersey and the Lower Hudson Valley (more on that later) I was seized with an urge: I needed me some City. The hardcore kind. Dropped the house stuff for the day, hopped a train and before I knew it there I was. Spat directly into the throngs of traffic and action.
My memories of NYC were so fragmented that it was like tasting it for the first time. Whenever I had gone before, it was for work, and totally destination-oriented. I'd spend days at Javits but have no clue where I was. I'd go to conferences in hotels, play hooky from seminars and go hide in cafes around the corner. I loved it, had a great time, but didn't understand how the city was connected because I was being shuttled around in smelly cabs from point A to B.
This time I just walked. Took in the layout of the city as I wandered. Stuck to the streets, with the exception of two buildings: The Met, in which I got promptly lost, and Kinokuniya, the Japanese book/stationery/paper store in which I could have stayed forever.
I wondered whether I'd feel overwhelmed in the city after living in a small Midwestern town for five years, but I felt at ease. I loved how there was no tolerance for baby steps, that the city expected me to have my big girl shoes strapped on upon arrival and ready to go, how it pulled at the part of me that needs to feel anonymous. I was free to wander, free to look like a fool, free to blend in, free to get lost, free to observe, free to change direction - and no one gave a damn about any of it or me. It was delicious. Maybe best of all, I walked so much over this past weekend that I lost three pounds.
Obviously in 5 hours I didn't put even a dent into Manhattan, but it helped me get my bearings enough to have a starting point when I go back in November, hopefully on a photocrawl with dear Cindy, who (rather serendipitously) published a sweet welcome post to me just as I was setting foot in Central Park. As difficult as it is to wrap up our happy, easy life here in Kansas, my visit reminded me of all the great things that will soon be at our fingertips -- including an infinite supply of visual candy, welcoming friends and a built-in weight loss program. I really can't ask for more than that.