Back to the Concrete Jungle
“I go to Paris, I go to London, I go to Rome, and I always say, ‘There’s no place like New York. It’s the most exciting city in the world now. That’s the way it is. That’s it.’ ” ~ Robert De Niro
I don’t know if I can put into words how happy writing this post even makes me. It has been four months and to be back in the city that shaped and molded who I am today makes my heart burst with joy. I didn’t realize how much I missed city life until I was back in it, but boy, oh boy did I miss it. Yes ALL of it. Yes the nitty gritty. Yes ALL aspects of the good AND the bad. I just missed frickin culture and people and FOOD! Oh my gawd the food! Guys I MISS Seamless. Please tell me Seamless is a thing where you live, because it was frickin life when I lived in the city.
I could go on and on. And I definitely feel so basic with my word choices, but blame it on the ecstasy (joy, not the drug guys, though I swear New York is its own drug) of being home even if it was fleeting. It was exactly what I needed to give me perspective.
I definitely felt like I had lost sight of not only what I wanted, but also where I was going on this crazy journey called life. Being back in the Concrete Jungle, surrounded by people who love and support me (and want me back) unconditionally, and who are my absolute rocks and just get ME as a human, who SEE through my bullshit of “Oh I am fine” and can be like “Gurl you are NOT fine. Cut the bullshit. What can I do to help you. How can I help you?” Was so refreshing and very much needed. Phew that was a run on sentence, but seriously, I hadn’t even realized how much I needed and how I very dearly missed that connection until I was reunited with my peeps.
Originally, I wasn’t sure if I would be going to New York. My nephew and fellow blogger was receiving his Confirmation and had asked me to be his sponsor. (what the HECK was he thinking?) While I was incredibly honored, (and shocked see above) I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend, thinking I would either be down south or abroad. As I mentioned in my last post, life has a crazy way of working out and thus I ended up not only being able to go, but also drove down with my parents which was the first time in five years, since I usually fly. I quickly realized WHY I usually fly.
Lately, life seems to be coming full circle, because the last time I drove with the parentals, I was battling pneumonia. This time I was battling a pissed off Aunt Flo and in turn ovarian cysts. While it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, it definitely was not a fun drive, and I huddled in the back seat with my heated blanket and prayed that Jesus Would Take The Wheel and we would get there. Which we did. Barely.
Oh, Hey, Concrete Jungle
Since we had arrived a couple days before the Confirmation, the kiddos were in school, and despite still feeling sick (thanks Aunt Flo) and tired from the eight hour drive (we stopped A LOT) I said peace out to my parents and sister and took the train early the next morning into the city to see friends, have a date with the longest relationship other then my parents I have ever had, (Note: NOT romantic, but necessary) and see the long anticipated Moulin Rouge, which I will save for my next post.
I am pretty sure all the commuters wanted to murder me, because I was SO excited. Your girl did not need ANY caffeine, though I made sure to have plenty! I was definitely having flashbacks of the spring where I was riding the train multiple times a day whilst lugging my life with me. At least this time it was just once a day and I only had a small bag, since most of my life’s possessions have been sold.
That first day was so incredibly recollective. When the train pulled into East 125th Street Harlem I was inundated with all the memories of the times I would get off there and then hop on the metro to go down to East 96th Street to my apartment on the Upper East Side. For the first time in what felt like years (because it was), I took the train all the way down to Grand Central.
Despite the crowds of commuters and even some tourists who had braved the early hour, I was exhilarated at the rush. I walked through the corridors to get to the subway where I would take it across town and then up to the West Side in what would be another full circle moment. Years ago when I would visit my cousin for weeks on end, she lived on the Upper West Side and it was the first neighborhood, I came to know well. Obviously that changed when I did eventually move to the Concrete Jungle and settled on the Upper East Side, but the nostalgia factor was still there.
In many ways it felt like I hadn’t even left slipping right into my
Resting Bitch Face New York persona, clocking all the miles as I traipsed all over the city. I breakfasted and lunched with friends and family, soaked up as much time as I could, in Bryant Park, had meetings, ran errands, and even saw my Eastern Medicine Doctor who “beat” me up. It was a solid visit even if it was way to short for my city slicker heart.
As much as I joked about missing the food, it was the people I got to share delicious meals with the most. Spending time with my cousin and best friends was so worthwhile and very much needed. We caught up on ALL the things and drank ALL the things. New York has such a different, but very much healthier drinking culture that I miss. No one is drinking to get schmammered instead we savor good cocktails as much as we do the food and company.
Not only did my friends have open arms, it felt like New York was welcoming me back. In what was complete fate, while Bryant Park was under construction building their winter village, the newly named Fever Tree Porch (formerly The Southwest Porch) had re-opened while I was there and my jetsetting blonde bestie and I couldn’t resist getting some boozy hot chocolate and catching up like we use to do when I lived there. We also couldn’t resist grabbing some snaps. It was even better then I remembered.
I also had several meetings AND I was finally reunited with my Louis Vuitton Neverfill Tote that I had fixed. (and they cleaned!) I also as mentioned earlier saw my eastern medicine doctor who just so happens to be that longest relationship I had talked about going on six years give or take. It was so good to see him. (though he did yell at me about my shoe choice, oops) He manipulated, adjusted, massaged and even cupped (I still have the marks!) my body to straights. It was VERY much needed and I wish I could make him with me where ever I go, because he and his team are phenomenal.
Arriving first thing in the morning, I was able to enjoy the peacefulness that descends the city even in Midtown. Being able to walk the streets with little open, stave for coffee shops and breakfast spots. Most people still sleeping off the debauchery of the night before, or the rush hour crowds, to hurried to stop and smell the
sewer city flowers.
While my visits were way to short, it was exactly what I needed. I reconnected not just with friends, but with myself. I felt like I had found the “City Girl” my friends back home affectionately call me again, that in being that rock amongst all the drama, I had been losing who I was, putting aside MY needs. Reflection and reconnection aren’t left to be discovered in a yoga room, or on the meditation bus (yes, New York does have one of those). Sometimes they are rediscovered in the hustle and bustle, the craziness of large crowds, and a city I love so much and that loves me. That is where even for a few short days, I found my center again.
Have you ever re-visited a city or town you use to call home? How do you re-center ourself? Do you prefer driving or flying?