Saturday, May 11, 2013

In New York

I sit on the hardwood floor in front of the French doors that lead to the patio. The sun is shining in. Rosie is licking the remnants of my lemon greek yogurt out of the container. I am alone, just a girl and her cat. All that remains are the memories living inside my head and the FDNY shirt on back.

The last two nights have comprised of a combined ten hours of sleep. It is 9:30 but my body thinks it's 11:30. So I sit in the morning sun with my cat and my thoughts and my words, and remember what was only yesterday.

Nine days ago I got on a plane at Salt Lake International and got off that same plane at John F. Kennedy International. A 30 minute cab ride to the Upper West Side and a phone call to our host because we couldn't get the door open, then the stunning reality of how small New York apartments really are. I was here. I made it.

The eight days of New York City were long and short. The magnificence of the city cannot be understated or fully explained unless you've witnessed it. Six percent of Manhattan real estate is occupied by Central Park. Walk around the Jackie Kennedy Reservoir, under cherry trees in bloom on a gravel path while runners lap you, and look in every direction at the city that surrounds you. A vast open space, six miles of grass and trees and water, surrounded by eight million people, glass and concrete, taxi cabs and subway cars, the tallest building in the Northern Hemisphere.

On Canal Street people talk at you without eye contact, trying to entice you with words like "Vuitton, Chanel, Rolex, watches, handbags, perfume". Don't ever follow anyone, don't ever go into a back room. About 3 blocks north of Canal is Broome Street and the Kate Spade flagship store. I bought $8 sunglasses on Canal and considered a fake Burberry plaid scarf for my sister before leaving the low-toned fast-talking no-eye-contact-making hustle on Canal. Instead I bought a clutch in Kate Spade, tried on some dresses at Ted Baker, and bought two pairs of shoes at Miz Mooz while Elysa bought four times the amount of stuff I did for probably about the same price on Canal. We met up at Starbucks on Canal and Centre before walking back to the subway.

Outside the subway on Canal and Varick

The 9/11 Memorial is reverent and breathtaking. Walk a block through security and pass slabs of concrete from the Twin Towers on your way into the memorial. A plaza with trees and benches is quiet, despite the financial district surrounding it and the people on the square. I walked around the South Pool lightly touching the names etched in black granite. I watched the South Tower fall. Engine 21 was in raised silver letters. On the east panel Flight 77 gleamed in the evening sunlight.

The museum is still under construction, but looks amazing from the outside. To the east of the North Pool is the new WTC building, the Freedom Tower, which officially finished construction the day I left. The survivor tree stands in the middle of the plaza: a miracle tree that somehow survived the terror and destruction and has stood in the same spot since before September 2001. It was burned and bruised, but not ruined. The survivor tree survived and is a metaphor for the city that houses it.

$27 will get you to Top of the Rock, or the top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It's a 360 degree view of Manhattan and the surrounding boroughs and rivers.

Saturday night at Willow Road involved four dishes, two of which were "must try" dishes sent over from the general manager. I immediately died over how phenomenal each of them was. We had Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert with some sort of sour cream accoutrement that cuts the sweetness of the pudding. It was the best food of the entire trip, On Thursday night, Zachary Quinto showed up at Willow Road after the Star Trek Into Darkness premiere that happened mere blocks away from our apartment. The ceiling at Willow Road says "Baked By Electricity" in blue neon letters. The building is  part of the old Nabisco factory
Flash off so no one can see you're being ultra touristy by taking a picture and making a heart with your hands because you love the restaurant so much
I bought a Mother's Day present for my mom at the Tiffany flagship on Fifth Avenue. The day before I had learned that I'd been accepted to the Sarah Lawrence Summer Writers Seminar the third week of June, so  I brought nothing from Tiffany back to Utah for me. On Thursday, I went back and walked around FAO Schwartz, up and down Fifth Ave, going into stores where I know I can't afford anything. I was in heaven. I walked down to St. Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth and 51st Street. It's under construction but still open. It was growing late in the day. I knew I had a long night ahead of me. I walked west down 51st, through Midtown, towards the 1 train at 50th and Broadway. My feet were tired, and I felt sure both my baby toes were going to fall off any second, but I was genuinely happy. And genuinely exhausted.

On Fifth Avenue and 55th Street

I went out with my friend Nick for one last night in NYC on Thursday. He took me to Macao for dinner. He wore a suit and tie, I wore a cocktail dress. It was a $30 dollar cab from the Upper West Side to Lower Manhattan, but a night out with Nick was worth it. Macanese food for dinner involved mushroom croquets, fried squid tentacles with an amazing bean salad, noodle salad with calamari, and a fish entree that I can't even begin to describe. It was that good. All accompanied by cocktails/mocktails depending on who was drinking it. Bars and dancing and more cocktails followed. I got hit on by 2 white guys at Macao and 3 black guys at Employees Only. It was my favorite night, favorite thing of the trip. And my phone stayed in  my Kate Spade all night so I don't even have any pictures except two I took before I met Nick. On our way out of Macao, we walked down the hallway where Kristen Wiig filmed her SNL intro. Nick and I kissed goodbye and he put me in a cab about 2:15. At that time in the morning, it was my last day in the city.

Jersey at night from the Henry Hudson Parkway

Outside of Macao, trying to be artsy with the angles

Going over the Queensboro Bridge out of Manhattan was a dagger to the heart. I was so sad to leave it behind. When I remembered I would be back in six weeks to go to Sarah Lawrence, I smiled to myself.    "I love New York, even though it isn't mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it." from Truman Capote.


Rosie's pushing the empty container into my leg. It brings me back to where I am. I look out the glass door. No bars, no fire escapes, no buildings five feet away. Just a chapel and mountains to dominate my skyline now.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Sounds ahMAHzing :). Seriously so cool! When you live there someday, I'll have to come visit you. I'll never go otherwise! Love your descriptions of everything and how you took your picture with the flash off so no one would see how touristy you were being, haha!