On the eve of my last day in New York city, I write this from my fire escape with a glass of chilled red wine (yes, that's right, I like red chilled) listening to the cicadas buzz. I love how the breeze is cooling off this hot New York air.
It's not like I am leaving New York with my feet dug into the ground, but it's pretty close. I mean how can I not? It's New York. And like Carrie says, it's fabulous.
Except she is talking about Manhattan and I am talking about that borough Brooklyn. The one that used to be the 'hood' but is actually a treasure of tree-lined Brownstone streets, cool cafes, adorable boutiques and people so friendly you'd swear you were in the prairies.
I felt an instant connection to Brooklyn. Manhattan took a few tries to get me hooked (which it did) but Brooklyn was instantaneous. Maybe because it has all those Manhattan things we love to think of (above mentioned cafes and boutiques) complete with brick-exposed walls and yellow cabs - but on a much softer scale. It's like the small-town version on Manhattan.
Manhattan can kick your ass. After a day of pounding the pavement, it wears you out. Busting your way through gawking tourists, waiting for the 'F' train in a stinking hot (and full) station, getting shoved around by impatient assholes. Brooklyn offers an oasis of calm in a storm. When I pop my head out at Bergen Street station I feel as though I have come . . . home.
So it's with great sadness that I leave this place.
I am more lucky that most. In the 18 months the Engineer spent at NYU, I was here for the better half. Which doesn't seem like long at all. Not long enough to feel at home. Or call this home.
How come I feel like it's home then?
In those 9-10 months, I wandered both Brooklyn and Manhattan endlessly. Usually by myself. Sadly when the Engineer and I recounted our favourite memories from this place, rarely were they together.
That's just fine. New York was mine to discover and play and wander and explore.
I found pickles to die for. The best cupcakes in the world. I got lost at museums that house world wonders. I was present on Broadway for 'magic time' (what I refer to as 8:00 pm when the lights go on for countless plays, ballets, symphonies, comedies - it's amazing to think what magic happens at 8:00 across this town) countless times. I spotted stars on the subway. I discovered tea shops in back rooms that were once speakeasies. I had picnics in the only graveyard on the island. I saw the full moon on a crisp winter's night from a castle. I skated on Rockefeller and hated it. I claimed lawn space for an outdoor movie and had a pizza delivered to a park. I listened to my favourite authors at bookstores. I did yoga on a hammock. I ate a real New York slice the New York way. I found a love for restaurants with back gardens. I became a regular at a deli. I saw thunderstorms over the Statue of Liberty. I walked in the footsteps of those that built this country.
I fell in love with this city, with the Engineer, and, as cheesy as this is, with myself. I discovered so much about myself in these past two years. The trials of a long-distance relationship, finally getting a job after years of dead-ends, becoming a bride, publishing articles for the first time, raising two dogs responsibly. So much has happened since the Engineer came here. We've evolved and changed - our outlook on life and our expectations are totally different. I think this city had something to do with it.
I soaked up this city like a sponge. And yet there are still countless restaurants to try (just walking down East 7th yesterday made me CRAZY for food!). More museums to see. Plays that open in the fall. This city sleeps, honestly it does, but never slumbers. I would say it takes cat naps.
Around every corner there is a new discovery. I have never felt so inspired at my keyboard to write like I do here. The possibilities are endless.
I mean isn't that what Frank Sinatra said? If you can make it here, you'll make it anywhere.
It's true. If you can't find your passion, your drive, the things that make you tick here - then New York has failed you. There is so much drive in this city you can feel it pulsate. Every day I talk to someone interesting. From the lady across the street who wears her curlers when she walks her bulldog to the writer who spent time in the Peace Corps.
In this giant city where millions of people walk, play, run, work, dance, laugh, cry - I found a haven in 478 Warren Street, Brooklyn, New York. A little area where I felt welcome from day one and have called home for two years. A little piece of this great city that was mine.
Thank you New York. It's been swell.