Lately, I’ve been haunted by nostalgia for New York.
I am a person who arrives in a new location with wonderment, then looks around and asks where to next. Home is an evasive concept.
During my fraught teen years, growing up in a small city where people surf the waves and (for lack of better words) hang loose, I wanted something crisper, something cooler, something that matched my temperament. Uneasy during my visits in the East, I left home for an obscure college in the Midwest. Four years swept by, filled with technicolor falls, skin-numbing winters, and miraculous springs. I fell for Virginia Woolf and unrequited love.
After a memorably disastrous year in the city Nelson Algren likens to a woman with a broken nose, followed by a boomerang half-year, I moved to NYC. During the heart of the recession.
I can’t remember ever being so excited or optimistic about a new place. I weathered the tough neighborhoods, knowing there was more to this place. I passed Yoko Ono on the Upper West Side. I commuted to Lincoln Center.
In some ways my life there remained a half-life, or I probably would have stayed. What remains: K, whom I met in July of 2009, when I was living in the neighborhood pictured above. And my one other true friend made in NYC, a quirky, stylish girl who let me be her roommate in a crumbling little brownstone overlooking a hipster/jazz café on one side and a coterie of stoop-sitters on the other.
This post is obviously inspired by those words. But the heartache for New York is real and unexpected.