By the end of my first hour back in New York City I’d already been sworn at by somebody and had somebody else complement me on my Scrabble tile necklace.
Ah, it’s good to be home!
Nowhere else feels like this, smells like this, sounds like this: exhaust and caffeine and chatter and hot dog stands and car horns. Nowhere else is as loud and as brash and as honest. I think a lot about the personalities of the cities I visit – how most of them you could identify with your eyes closed just by the way they make you feel. New York gets under your skin, and I can’t tell if it’s the people who make it or it makes the people. Jay says that as you walk along the streets and look up the image of superheroes swinging from building to building doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous.
I settle into a routine quite easily. Once again the first night is spent around Times Square but the difference, I suppose, is that this time it is local to our hotel. But there’s no comparing that sight as you round the corner for the first time, even if you’ve seen it before – it still takes your breath away. I suppose it has been four years. I can’t begin to put into words the feeling of… contentment? completeness? I get in the pit of my stomach. I’m not sure if I want to. People are hustling for change, holding up signs with everything from tales of economic disaster to I need money for weed. There’s a guy dressed up as Elmo and I ask for a photograph. “Only if you tip,” he replies in a hispanic accent.
What? It’s honest, and it’s enterprising. Frankly, he deserves it for wearing the suit in this heat. But there’s air conditioning in most places and, as evening becomes nightfall, there’s a summer camaraderie. Folding chairs in the road, table tennis in Bryant Park and an ice lolly for the walk back to the hotel.