New York has a way of beating you up. It can feel so personal. Having your phone stolen or missing the train is no longer coincidence; it’s low punches from the city itself. Sometimes I loathe New York. I wait until I’m in a car speeding over the Williamsburg bride or high up on someone’s roof top before shouting, “I HATE you, New York!” I wait until I’m somewhere with a big span of it’s suffocating grey buildings, so they can all hear me, with thousands of New Yorkers below me rushing around like too many ants.
Sometimes the weather feels like an endurance test, the sweltering sun will reflect from the shiny buildings around you and suddenly you find yourself melting in the middle of the street. Holding your coffee and gasping for air as anorexics in bikinis still find the energy to jog past you, holding out their yoga mat like an olymic baton.
Or the unglamorous parts of beings a “new Yorker” can get you down. Like stepping over rats in the subway station, or trying to stay upright in a packed subway car when there’s a fistfight taking place centimeters in front of you, or sharing your apartment with cockroaches.
But flying into La guardia airport is different; the view of the New York is compact and concise from up above. The skyscrapers look perfectly in order, like colored penciled placed back in the box with sharpened tips. The city looks ready to go, you look down at it from above and you want to enter.
New York looked appealing again last night when I was in the back of the cab, driving over the bridge in queens. I looked across at Manhattan and the building were lined up and stood straight, twinkling with their lights on like birthday candles a top a cake.
I told the cab driver to take the route up the side of the east river. “It’ll take longer” he said, confused. “But it’s a nicer route” I said.
He drove up the side of the river and I smiled at the city and said to the driver, ”Isn’t it pretty! We live here!” and he smiled and said, “New Jersey is real pretty, too.”
I get home to my tiny apartment, to my cat and my man and I am happy again.
I was still out of love with New York but I had to admit it looked great. Like a pageant child who performs especially well, even if you don’t agree with what’s going on, you can’t discredit a good performance.