It’s been five days since I left New York, and as is the case with week-old nostalgia, I often find myself thinking about the city. I’ve always loved the vibrancy of New York, the energy, and even the street meat smell. Since I left, I have found myself missing those aspects of the city: the pavement-pounding commuters, the holier-than-thou coffeeshops, the 3 AM chicken and rice. Most of all, though, I miss the people. I miss the tour guide in Midtown who attracts customers by telling people his name is Kofi Annan (“Really? I’ve totally heard your name before. You’re a famous tour guide!”). I miss the crazy (and perhaps sight-challenged) men who would hoot at me in the mornings (“Hey baby, you’re looking fine in those Old Navy dress pants.”). I miss the friends who came with me, during my last week in the city, to visit a heralded NYC institution–the Olive Garden in Times Square.
While I lived in New York, I had my complaints too. For me, the city was expensive, crowded, and dirty. Rats were everywhere, as if the Pied Piper had settled in Manhattan. Over the last four months, I lived on the Upper East Side, where Juicy-Couture-wearing poodles would be juxtaposed with the pigeon-poop-lined sidewalks. I’d dodge feces of all kinds (dog, rodent, fowl) as I walked to work.
But as nostalgia goes, all my complaints about New York are now forgotten. The good memories are the ones that remain: dancing with kilted Scotsmen at Gatsby’s, table-searching in the basement of 30 Rock, discussing pedophiles on Wednesday nights, finding the best fajitas in town (still Zarela’s), Zog Sports football, Central Park, 24-hour diners, even Joshua Tree.
I think that anytime something ends, there is an afterwards period of great reflection and self-doubt. If I were in an early-90s TV show, I’d be sitting next to a bay window now, a single tear streaming down one cheek, watching the rain fall outside. Am I doing the right thing? Am I just being crazy? Who chooses LA over New York?? Where did my stoic, hardened, East-Coast-is-the-Beast-Coast mentality go?
Well… I don’t know the answer to that right now. But with regards to the city of New York, I’ll quote the modern-day, muscled bard of California: I’ll be back… perhaps.