My first visit to NYC was in January of 2007. I fell in love!
I gathered there, in the Chelsea District, with a group of writers I had met online in a writing site. We spent a long weekend sharing our poetry, and forging relationships that would last a lifetime. We walked the streets, even though it was freezing cold, and we wrote about our experiences. It was a weekend filled with love and creative energy unlike anything I’d ever experienced.
Several of us believed NYC would be our destination city within a few years. We all wanted to live there, write there, and change the world from the streets of a city unlike any other.
I returned to New York in April of 2009 and met some of the same friends I’d been with on my first trip. We rode subways, busses, walked to the Met and Central Park and walked all way from Chelsea to Greenwich Village. I’ll admit my dogs were killing me. That was an incredibly long walk. We also went to ground zero. At that time they were still in the clean up phase in the aftermath of 9/11. It was fenced off and we were unable to see the aftermath of the tragedy. As we were taking pictures, the gate opened and provided a view of the most unbelievable site I’ve ever seen. It is burned into my memory. I felt such a deep sense of loss and as the tears welled up in my eyes, I was approached by a guy selling picture books. Photos of death and destruction. There were photos of bodies falling from the buildings and bodies on the ground. Now, I’m not a violent person, and I’m sure because I was in such an emotional state, I reacted without thinking. I spun on the guy and let out a slew of expletives I didn’t know I had in me. I knocked the books from his hands, and punched him. My friends pulled me away and as the guy scrambled to pick up his books and take off, I felt such a profound sense of rage. It took all day to get through my emotional state, but I felt at that moment that I had given just a fragment of humanity and compassion to a city I so love.
It took a long time to understand how people can try to profit from the horrors of life and not have it weigh heavily on their conscience.
I still love the city, and I still have that occasional nugget of a dream in my mind that I’d love to live there, even if it were just for a couple of years. Truth be told, I wouldn’t be able to live in such a cold climate because of injuries sustained in a car accident in 1994. My body can’t handle the cold. I’m thinking at some point, I might have an opportunity to spend a summer there and write.
A piece of my heart will always belong to the city that never sleeps.