New York ~ Day Nine
Location: Somewhere over the midwest in an airplane traveling fast, chasing a Seattle sunset.
I am cramped, hot, sweaty, tired. But fulfilled. Happy. Exhausted. Blissful. Sad. Alone. Surrounded by people. Content. Discontent. Wistful. Satisfied. Wondering. Longing. Enchanted. I am changed. But the same. I have lived. Hard. I have taken it all in. Said “yes” to as much as I could. I missed out. I absorbed it all. I am full. I am not full. I am reenergized. I am totally fried. I learned. I questioned. I sought. I found. I stumbled upon. I was denied. I was ignored. I was engaged.
As I accepted it all, so was I accepted.
Veni, Vedi, Vici.
This plane seat is not big enough for anyone, let alone a personal trainer girl with serious muscle mass. Just sayin’. I can’t wait to get home and shower, throw a load of seriously rank travel clothes into the wash, shave my legs. pet my cat, and crawl into a bed in a room that is three times what I was sleeping in for 9 nights — both the bed and the room are three times larger. Not complaining. It was an experience I wanted, and one I won’t forget. I will stay at The Bowery House again, hands down, no question about it. It had its moments, but $69 a night…in NY, no less…a steal. Could not have turned out to be a better place to stay. And the neighborhood…freaking adorable.
This morning I finished my packing, plotted what I would do with my last few hours in NY. Breakfast was at Freeman’s, only two blocks away, and one of the best places I went to during my whole stay.
It’s located down a long graffitied alleyway, and beckons with sunbeams soaring down between row houses onto vine and flowers adorning the entry way to the restaurant. I walk in, and as with most businesses in NY, they surprise me sometimes with their deceptive size — Freeman’s was full, loud, boisterous, rustic, charming — the kind of place that displays taxidermy behind the bar and it doesn’t bother you — hipsters brunching, energetic, but most importantly some fine food for this foodie.
I sat at the bar. I’ve gotten used to eating alone. I don’t mind, and many times prefer it. Often I’ll get to know the bartender, or the people next to me, whom today just happened to be someone from Seattle working for Amazon’s digital media group. Small world, ey?
The food was amazing, my last splurge, one of the best artichoke dips with crostini I’ve ever had, a green salad, and shakshuka, a cast iron egg dish with tomato sauce, basil, feta…all kinds of caramelized goodness in that little round pan, hot to the touch. To drink, a tasty chamomile lavender iced tea with something else fancy in it, I can’t remember. And guess what, got to know the bartender. He’s originally from Seattle. This is what happens when you take time to engage with those around you. Life rewards me every time.
From there, I paused in the alleyway, leaned myself against the wall with graffiti on it, looking up my next destination, deciding to take a pic of myself by the wall, put my phone camera in reverse. What do I see behind my head?? A plastered image of Jerry Seinfeld wearing a tank that said “New York City” on it, graffitied over with color to match my hair. Huge wry smiled cracked my face. This Universe. It is so effing hilarious. Perfect last selfie in New York: one with the most New York of all New Yorkers.
I browsed some local shops. With only a couple hours left, I decided to stay around the neighborhood and see what I may have missed. Tons of cute shops. I picked up some adorable greeting cards that mirrored my experience, picked up a couple of artisan crafted necklaces that also spoke to me, one a glass pendant with Alice In Wonderland on it. If that doesn’t describe my experience here, I’m not sure what will. I stopped for some mighty tasty gelato, I peeked my head into the cathedral I had passed every day but never looked at in detail. St. Patrick’s. Not sure if it was THE St. Patrick’s, I’d have to check online. Either way, completely stunning.
Last ditch attempt at some food, I stopped at Cafe Habana. Picked up what they say is voted the best Cuban sandwich in NYC, to-go, for the road. Back to the hotel, got my luggage, ate my sandwich and waited for the airport shuttle.
A two hour shuttle ride…ridiculous. But, picking up 7 people in NYC is no easy feat with traffic, one-ways, slow people, etc. Ugh. I’ve been sitting way too long today. After all the walking I’ve been doing, you would think I’d be okay with that. My feet are so swollen and blistered and everything below the belt is feeling numb. Time to bug my seat mates for a bathroom escape. I’m in the window seat. Commence airplane gymnastics in 3….2….1….
I am sure I will have many follow-up stories, many poems inspired by this incredible experience. I am truly honored that so many of you stuck around to take the trip with me here in this humble forum. Patience while I get settled back at home, but then you can expect some entertaining output from me, no doubt. And I also look forward to reading as much of you guys as I can to catch up. As you can tell, very little time to reciprocate that for the last couple weeks.
Thank you, again. I’m so lucky to have found this community and the avid support it offers for my expression and craft. You all make my heart sing.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, the one who just came back from the ISS after one year, was posting from New York while I was there! He also shared this satellite picture of the city from space. The island is Manhattan, the most brightly lit area in the middle of it is Times Square, the green patch, Central Park. A beautiful metropolis from any vantage point.