I moved back to New York seven months ago. It’s been seven months since I moved back to New York. I’m not sure how to place myself in relation to the city. Is the move the thing, or is the city? This city that I’ve loved and left and missed and feared. This city that feels – very physically feels, in the width of its sidewalks and height of its buildings and its tides of people – like home, and yet still knocks me back every week with some new beauty or horror or inane frustration.
The first two or three months were so strange. Everything felt like walking through rippled water, impossible to see for what it is. I came across ghosts and memories wherever I went. Or maybe I felt like a ghost myself, able to pass through people I used to be. As if there’s always a fifteen year-old version of myself being kissed for the first time on the 14th street subway platform. A new college graduate me sobbing into a phone by the state supreme court house in Brooklyn Heights. An eleven year-old self laughing outside of Gramercy Park with new best friends. A seventeen year-old self perpetually sneaking into a construction site near Lincoln Center on Thanksgiving morning. And so many heartbroken selves sitting on the southern end of the Promenade, looking out towards Manhattan and the harbor. I passed through them all and I can’t get away from them – don’t want to get away from them. I’m overwhelmed by them, by the past, by all the selves I’ve been in this city and all the selves I hope to get to be here now. It’s been a homecoming. I’m grateful to be here. I’m grateful to be able to return to the past when I want – and even when I don’t, like how I still find myself nervous and alert at the 42nd Port Authority subway station, even passing through, even after all these years. It all feels like a gift, again and again...and still, the city has so much more to offer, so many things to love, and so much gratitude to call forth.
How funny then that one of those things on offer in the middle of these waves of memory was literally a time capsule.Read More