finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Monday, August 25, 2014

New York. Again. One more time

I am feeling melancholy.

I am back in New York to finish things. (Although I wonder if one ever "finishes things" with New York City.)

I am back in town for ten days to pack/clean/socialize/experience and, well...finish. I have more or less officially moved to Chicago. My things are there. My work is there. My cat is there. So I must live there.

And New York? Well, New York is seemingly my past. But yesterday, today and for the next nine days, it is my present. And in it, I find myself nostalgic and torn, content and discontent, assaulted and embraced, inspired and annoyed. New York. It's everything.

A friend said, "New York never changes" And this has given me pause. It feels like it indeed did change. Or I did. I'm not sure which. New York still offers all it did: a dizzying array of everything. This is what I love about New York. Anything is possible: opening an improv school, creating your own work, traveling to the middle east as a playwright on commission, working as an actual paralegal, falling in love with a refugee, selling Iraqi art, dinner at 4am, summer in the Hamptons, unlimited mimosa brunch, discovering Time Warner cable is your mortal enemy, Times Square blackouts, Broadway auditions, ludicrously asking Ludicrous for water, sitting in the jury of "Law and Order", overshadowing Sarah Jessica Parker, pizza for a buck, cocktails for 22, an A train teen acrobat show for less (It's showtime!!), homeless man poetry readings, cheap mani/pedis, meeting soon to be friends from all over the world...literally. It's all here. It's all still here.

And yet, it feels different.

Maybe I need more space or more quiet or more family or more work or less options or less stimulation or less concrete or less isolation. I don't know yet. I could stay here forever. Easily. But I never wanted to. After ten it time to leap into the next?

Seems I already have. I think I'm done.

They say "New York will always be here if you want to come back." But people really don't, do they? Or I won't. Probably. Sure, New York will always be here, but it's not the same. Once you leave, it's not the same; you're no longer in the club.

As a committed liver and lover of New York, you are part of a club. It's unwritten, but we all know we belong. We have all agreed to put up with the crowds and the crazy and the rats and the garbage and the noise and the urine and the tourists and the tight otherwise-impossible-to-live-in-spaces in exchange for...everything. And when you agree to leave that, you become merely an outsider looking in; no longer a member of the club --- just another observer slash admirer of New York --- from the outside.

But today, I am in the middle.  Not in or out. Still here, almost gone. But still a card carrying member.

I am standing on the precipice between old and new, past and future, New York and non-New York. I made the choice. Or New York did. I'm not sure which.

But it's over New York. Damn.

Don't get me wrong: Like any old, hard-to-get-over love--- I will always long for you, I will always dream of you. I will always...wonder.

But I will no longer live here. With you. Like this.

In other's finished.

...with love and gratitude.


  1. An interesting reflection As someone whose maternal grandparents moved here in 1919 and who is a third generation apartment dwelling nondriver, I find people's reflections on New York interesting. Things have changed a lot here since I was growing up. In addition to housing costs going through the roof (another reason I am here is that I have a rent regulated apartment), there are more superachievers here (too many IMHO). Something that sums it all up for me is that when I was growing up there was a theater group called "The Heights Players". It was started by two Brooklyn Heights housewives who had wanted to be actresses. It was for the people in the neighborhood to have a good time, full stop. I sang in the chorus of "Babes in Toyland" when I was 12. Now this group (like everything else) is a magnet for people from the tristate area who want a career in the "theatuh". Too many things are out of reach now. When I visited Port Aransas Texas a few years ago (long story) I sang two bars of Dalila's aria and people were speechless. They said they had never stood next to anyone with a real operatic voice and heard that sort of thing live. Ain't gonna happen here, Would love a tiny soupcon of that kind of thing every now and then. Constantly struggling for visibility here which is not easy. Unfortunately, I don't feel at all that "anything is possible". I am so aware of the things that are not possible because the best of the best are always here to snatch it up. Well, speaking of visibility....I would love to see you. If you are free on Sunday afternoon I will be bringing the summer to a rousing finale singing the alto solo cantata "Erfreute Zeit". You know where I'll be!

  2. Kim, I love you! Thank you for this.

  3. Thanks for the comments ladies! xo