I wanted to leave the room quietly and close the door behind me so I flew away, to New York. Although it was just for one week, it was enough to rejuvenate and reflect on things behind the door and things in the new room. Manhattan seemed to be the perfect place for it, “concrete jungle where dreams are made of.”
I arrived into New York’s bitter wind and sharp cold embraces with a hefty smile. I ran and struggled against the force of the Atlantic wind as if I were a lover of the Arctic Circle, imagining scenes of serendipity with the man of my dreams. Had I passed him earlier in my travels somewhere in the world? Is he getting off the train I am on? Is he holding someone he loves or is he also looking for me too?
The romantic notion of New York City is embroidered into the weaves of my dream life, my short previous life here as well as my life with television series and movies I have watched from childhood to now. They aren’t just movies, they too are my memories. I secretly hope that someone is also waiting for me on top of The Empire State Building or at Brooklyn Bridge or at the Central Park Ice Rink with my lost glove. Or that he appears while I have lunch at The Chrysler or would walk into an East Village cafe and sit beside me, we’d strike up a conversation and live happily ever after.
Central Park View From The Metropolitan Museum
Upper East Side, Central Park
Upper East Side, Central Park
Inside The Metropolitan Museum View Of Roof
In the city’s landscapes where so many places have been iconised by tales of love of the big, the bad and the beautiful it is hard not to forgive one’s entire lust for for love and romance.The city breathes your breath like a lover whispering sweet nothings into your mouth. Seducing you with feelings of ecstasy and euphoria, then in a whim, it sucks the life out of you, leaving you small and feckless in a big city with giants towering over the insignificance of you.
But people like me with strong faith in (guardian) angels see signs in the snow fall that dances on you and around you like notes from heaven, floating like feathers, each with a different message, covering everything in white, changing your whole perspective and covering all your woes and preoccupations with its gentle but cold kisses on the surfaces of your face.
1st Ave, East Village
I revisited the places of my past in New York, from my old apartments in Sullivan St to the one on East 4th & Avenue A to dive bars and food places I used to eat in, séancing old ghosts of friends and lovers, and the old me, who was younger, freer, unbruised and pure of wrinkles and skin flaws. I hear their voices and laughter and feel the way they moved around me and gyrate in their youthful glee.
My Old Apartment East 4th Street/ Avenue A
As I walked across St Mark’s Place, I remembered a lover I had met in New York. We fell in love one night after a party in someone’s apartment because he had lost his bag. I reassured him that if something is lost, then it is regrettable but unfortunately it is probably gone forever and there is no point in worrying about it if it is gone. It can be replaced and then everything would be fine again. But I really liked that bag, he said, all the things inside, they meant a lot to me. I said, if it was very important to you, you wouldn’t have lost it. He saw how it made sense to enjoy the moment, because time always moves, things are always lost, things always happen and time still moves whether you laugh or cry. So why cry… just close the door, another will open…
The Prince turned into a frog and as did all that followed but I never learned to laugh instead of cry when I lost them. When you are in love, nothing else seems to matter but when it ends the bliss that once was is tripled in pain. It is always hard to just forget them when things go up in flames, they only turn to ash and they blow away into dust, perhaps reincarnate into a new thing…
Lucky Envelopes I gave to people I met
Old Lovers sitting right next to me on subway
The best thing about New York City is how it really doesn’t matter if you are happy or sad, mad or sane, you can just turn up at a noodle bar or a fine dinning restaurant, eat something on your own, go to a dive bar and always make friends for the evening. People seem to accept one another, whether they are good or bad, its OK to be whatever it is you are or want to be or have become.
Sophie’s East 5th Street/ Avenue A
My favourite night was with a bunch of strangers at Sophie’s on East 5th Street. Most people had arrived at the bar on their own and everyone began to talk to one another. We all even ordered take outs and shared it along the bar. This would never be allowed, never mind happen in London!
New York’s subway hums of damp and urine. Its structure is rotting from the days of ‘Bad’ and even before but seems to be as efficient as ever. I love it when a band is playing or when I found a lone man drawing on the strings of a cello to Bach’s notes. It echoed the whole station until the metal trains ran by and diluted the sounds, but he would continue and continue. It always passes.
Lucien Freud, The Metropolitan Museum
As for asking directions, people are ever so kind, they really make sure you understand and there is often a very happy smile on New Yorkers when they feel like they have helped you. I love New York. I love striking a cigarette on the cold streets with New Yorkers. You can be very alone here, but there are many times when you don’t have to be.
My favourite New York finds
(There was not enough meals in the day to fit everything I wanted to fit in)