I took this shot this weekend in New York, pausing to snap it with my iPhone before dashing across the street, ducking into Grand Central, hopping on the six, riding uptown, changing my clothes, grabbing in a cab, eating dinner with a friend in SoHo, then grabbing another cab to the Lower East Side where I went into an unmarked bar–with a list–to celebrate my friend’s birthday. That’s after an already full day (eight hours!) of bridesmaid dress shopping, plus some brunch and beers tossed in. And you know what? As overwhelming as it was, I was completely calm. And this photo absolutely captured it.
When I first moved away from New York, I found that when I came back I’d feel slightly overwhelmed. The buildings were so tall and the streets so dirty compared to D.C. It was as much about the differences between the two places as it was about the shock of not being there, I realize. But now, after being gone for a while, I find myself on autopilot when I’m back. Subways make sense, and my own sensibilities get pushed back to where I’d left them. Yes, it’s still ridiculous to wander through SoHo and see price tags that could cover my rent for two or three months, but it’s also a relief to be able to sit down amongst friends feeling completely overwhelmed and know that you’re in a place where everyone struggles and fights to make a name for themselves. And you can tap back into that collective sense of pride that yes, often manifests itself in the ugly ways, but also makes you feel so lucky to be there, in the midst of it all.
So yeah, I’m feeling a little homesick. And I’m not going to lie, the song Empire State of Mind hasn’t been helping it at all. And just when I want to go and get mad at Alicia Keyes and Jay-Z for making me a nostalgic mess, the kids of P.S. 22 have to go and make my heart burst with longing for home. Oh New York.