NYC, Goodbye!

Washington Square Park Phil Roeder


I’m writing this on the train back from New York. Maybe my last time there for a while. I came in to shoot some video at Inc., and attend a writing workshop, and spend some time with my friend Jennie who is not happy about my moving an entire continent away from her. I’m not too happy about that part of it myself.

I’m a New Yorker. I was born on that island, and from wearing lots of black to driving a ratty old car and not caring, it will always have its influence on me. When I moved to the country more than 20 years ago, it was in crisis mode, to escape from an abusive and frightening husband. Yet that crisis also brought me to my heart’s desire. I’d been thinking for years that I wanted to live in the country. That’s why, even after I was divorced and safe, I never considered going back.

As the years went by and my social circle became ever more Hudson Valley and less Manhattan, I stopped going to New York so often. After a few years, I only went down when I had to, to the ASJA conference for example. I’d find myself in Midtown, the least lovable part of Manhattan and head back to the country having taken little pleasure in my visit.

Still, saying goodbye to New York seems part of saying goodbye to the East Coast, so after the workshop, instead of taking a late train back as I usually would, I spent the night at Jennie’s. I took today as a free day even though my schedule couldn’t really afford one. She lives in Brooklyn which is a whole other borough from the Brooklyn I knew–or didn’t really know–when I lived in New York. She loves living there, and I can see why.

The only thing on my agenda was to go bra shopping. I read once that the vast majority of women can’t figure out by themselves what bra size they should wear, and I’ve found that to be true for me. So years ago I started looking for professionals to measure me and help me find bras that fit properly. Which just isn’t something you can do in Ulster County. Jennie took me to a lingerie shop in Cobble Hill where she’s bought some of her prettiest bras. It was lovely and elegant, owned by a Frenchwoman and though we only came up with one bra that I actually wanted, as much fun as something like shopping for bras can be.

Jennie and I parted regretfully and I spent my last couple of hours in town walking in the Village and sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park. The weather was perfect and New York was delightful as only perfect weather can make it. There were children playing on more creative playground equipment than I ever clambered over on in my day. Interesting dogs walked by and an acoustic jazz trio complete with upright bass performed on one of the lawns. It reminded me of being in one of my favorite parks in Paris.

I haven’t much missed New York City all these years in Woodstock. I don’t know that I’ll miss it from Seattle, although some things, such as good pizza and the way everything stops for a good argument, will probably feel odd by their absence.

Today’s been a lovely last look at the city of my birth. Goodbye, New York. You’ll always be in my blood.

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Image: Phil Roeder/Creative Commons

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