Hello New York. I love you.
No woman wakes up as grateful to be in your embrace as me.
Radiators clicking, hissing in time to the third attempt at “snooze.” Oh what a beautiful morning, indeed. Tea bubbling in the countertop kettle instead of being brewed by a barista today.
Hello Second Avenue, nice to see you. Shop windows fogged in shivering cold. Third Avenue, how I’ve missed you; Lexington too. Six train south to Grand Central Terminal. Upper Easters packed in like the commodities they trade. Hello man with briefcase; hello hoodlum; hello sourpus mum. I love you, I do.
Through the Northwest Passage, like I a latter-day Amundsen; Cook. Navigating the damp, stinking tunnels out to the street in search of a shorter, faster route to Park Ave; past the Tiffany promises plastered on the tile walls, teal and VVSI-I (IGA cert.) reminding me of what I could have had in Greenwich, Wesport.
*phew* (Gasping for air in the Helmsley Building exit)
Hello Park Avenue. I could look at you forever; stare at your lush lawns in summer; your sparkling lights in winter. Piles of streetswept snow heaped up on your curbs; spilling over the planters. Cement urns so preciously paved with evergreen boughs in anticipation of spring. You’re pretentious, but I love you; like the reality star child of a patrician family. I can’t avoid you; I can’t look away.
Bright lights, big city.
I miss you when I leave you. I cry when I touch down: JFK, LaGuardia; when the lights of here come flooding in over the Hudson as the trains pull into Newark and the city seems so close. To Penn Station, pushing past throngs of commuters and tourists; elbows thrown as a frustrated local. I love you, innocent midwesterners and thick-accented Germans and middle schoolers in John 3:16 t-shirts wandering the Port Authority, looking for the buses that simply aren’t there; the magic passage to Grand Central–back to where my day began.
Now, in the cold of winter, tiptoeing up the wilds of the wide uptown sidewalks in the quiet nights. Breath hot in the freezing air. Blast of warm as front doors push open and heels click on prewar tile floors; doormen greet, “Hi, Meredith.” Elevator spirits me to the lucky seventh floor and I’m home. Home.
Goddamn it, New York. No woman has ever loved you as much as I love you.