One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.
I have so much to tell you. Felicity sent to me the above quote (by Thomas Wolfe) before I even had a trip to New York City planned. And now it’s become my mantra. I loved New York City. I loved it like Sabrina loved Paris. (Though don’t rule me out for adopting that city one day too). People ask me my favorite part of the trip, and I say, “Waking up.” I loved getting up each morning knowing that city was just outside my door. I loved walking its streets and entering its coffee shops and discovering its most famous landmarks for myself. I loved viewing it from above and even riding its trains below. I loved the overwhelming mass of humanity on Times Square and the miraculous quiet just blocks away in Central Park. And I loved the people.
There are lots of places I want to visit one day. Washington D.C. was one of them, and now I have. Paris is one. The Grand Canyon, Japan, Greece, Italy. They’re all on the list, and many more. But New York was different. I didn’t want to just observe it from its sky-high decks and stroll through its streets with a camera. I wanted to actually go inside. I wanted to meet New York. I was hoping that when I met Manhattan, Manhattan would meet me.
And then, in the last few years, it began to happen. I met a blogger and writer who works in New York City. I got a literary agent from there. And I started working for a travel company. Thanks to all of these things, my first trip to New York could not have been better if my favorite celebrity had marched up to me and asked, “You’re Serenity, right?”
The travel gig got us some very fun perks – a meeting in the Empire State Building (plus we got to skip the line to the top and we got to see the publicity shots that only VIPs usually see), a visit at the table with restaurant managers, and a plethora (well, a handful) of wonderful New York City guides giving us the real-deal, inside scoop on everything from celebrity sightings (“Hey, there went that famous Fox News guy…”) to 9/11 (more on that later and how we cried…).
And then I got to meet my agent and my friend, and that’s when it all came together and I knew I was living, breathing, walking in a total dream come true. I met my agent, Holly, on Wednesday. She changed the spot last-minute since I was trapped in a long (but very cool) tour at Tommy Hilfiger. We met in a little coffee shop where I discovered the news of her loveliness has been understated to a massive degree. No superlative quite does justice to how lucky I feel to have met this person, let alone signed with her on a professional level. NO SUPERLATIVE.
And then I met Anne Dayton of anneandmay.com, and I might have signed a real estate agreement then and there to live nearby these people if I didn’t think I’d have to leave my husband to do it. I wanted to hug both Holly and Anne after everything they said. I restrained myself. If I didn’t think they might read this I would gush even more, because they made my trip to New York what it was. I went – theoretically – for the Empire State Building and Top of the Rock and Tommy Hilfiger. But I’m going back for them.
For me, New York is like the ocean. I love life on earth so much more just remembering that it’s out there. Its enormity gives me perspective, shrinking my small stresses and sweeping the large ones into the stream of all human striving so that I no longer feel alone in them. It was a dream come true to go there once and to have friends to greet once I arrived. But for me it definitely didn’t feel like once-in-a-lifetime. It just felt like a first.
My next several posts will be more about the trip I’m sure. I don’t think you’ll be bored. No historical site or New York City experience is safe from my life-sized introspection. Emotional connections galore.
UPDATE** Here is a link to my NYC pictures on facebook.