Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Farewell to New York and to Maty

Easy as pie
New Amsterdam, it's become much too much
'Til I have the possession of everything she touches
'Til I step on the brake to get out of her clutches
'Til I speak Double Dutch to a real double duchess; --Elvis Costello

As I write, Maty and I are in Newark International Airport, seated at the gate where she will board her flight for Houston, Texas in a scant hour. We will soon part ways, she to visit family in the Lone Star state, I to ride the rails from Lisbon to Amsterdam over the course of the next month. We'll be reunited in mid-November, back home in Portland.

Maty in Times Square
What to say about New York? Any words I might tap out will, of course, be inadequate. New York is the center of the world. You can see it in the array of races and ethnicities of its inhabitants; you can hear it in the multitude of tongues that resound on its streets.

Outside ABC Studios
The exhilaration I felt wandering through the streets, the sheer adrenaline, was as powerful as any drug. While I wandered through Central Park, I looked up at the high-rise apartments and imagined what it might be like to live there, at the center of the universe. "If I had 10 million dollars, I'd buy a place, right here," I thought. "I'd move us into it, and we'd never leave. We wouldn't have to. The world would come to us."

But I'm never going to have 10 million dollars. Not in this lifetime. It's just a wistful dream. And, anyway, I think I love my little Rose City too much to leave her.

Maty and New Yorks' Finest
We spent our last day in Gotham wandering around Times Square, people watching, spell-bound by the dazzling displays. We ate lunch at a French bistro. We cast aside any pretenses of being above it, and gawked like the tourists we were.
Manikin retinue in H&M Times Square
And, for tourists, of course, New York is enthralling. But I spoke with a couple locals, and for them, the reality is a little different. "There is a lot of stress, working here," said a young black man I met in the bistro. He works for a bank in Times Square. "I'm here every day, and there is a lot of stress. I commute in from New Jersey every day. I can't afford to live here in Manhattan." 
Tatted New Yorker
On the subway, when we were returning to Staten Island, I met a man about my age --a tall Russian fellow --with two young children in tow. "When I came to work here, my employer warned me, almost as a point of contract, that I must be sure to leave the city regularly. The adrenaline will burn you out in short order, if you don't."

I suppose it must be that way.

Lovely day in Lincoln Square Park
Nonetheless, I love New York City. Maty loves it, too. We'll be back someday, God willing. But now I must sign off. My wife is getting ready to board. I've got a lump in my throat as I prepare to say goodbye to her. I hope I don't make a fool out of myself by blubbering in front of God and everyone.

More from Europe, dear reader. But for now, farewell.

No comments: