Back in New York City.
A place as familiar as my mother’s voice. I walk the streets, not a stranger in a strange land. The terrain, I know. The language, I am fluent in. I have a map in my mind, a better GPS than Google could ever invent, because it carries history and culture, awe and appreciation, in addition to the basic streets and avenues. Thirty-five years of living here are programmed lovingly into my system.
Two hours, fresh off the plane, I nod in recognition at typical bad New Yorker behavior, at the impatience and entitlement. I’m right in step again.
Once again, I’m gratified by how walkable this city is, how smooth the sidewalks are, how difficult it is to get lost, how the cityscape changes on a rolling basis to make boredom nearly impossible to achieve.
I’m challenged, especially not living here anymore. New York looks for weaknesses in you, and it will exploit them given the slightest chance. On the other hand, it’s ready to inspire, to fuel the flames of your wildest ideas and schemes.
I take the subway, and, yes, it’s crowded, but what do I expect? It will always be crowded. I love the assembly. In one subway car, maybe forty different heritages, cultures, backgrounds, colors. It makes me hopeful. It makes me excited.
Crowds, crowds, crowds. Especially around 14th street where I’m meeting a friend and then my daughter. I am not an apologist for every damn thing in this town. I know its flaws. I know how it can beat you down until you want to howl. I am, though, an apologist, I am an out-and-out booster of, its power to declare, You really want to be yourself? You want to show your true colors, no matter how garish they are? You have some guts, some moxie, a fairly thick skin, a sense of humor?
All right, then, you’ve come to the right place.