|New York in the 1980s—by cristee 12 via Flickr|
profess love for a neighborhood long gone is nostalgic, but it is perhaps how I was first introduced to the city that tells most about how she seduced me.
Surely there had been some earlier romancing, but by 1987, she began to reveal
herself honestly. For two days I walked through her shadows, peeling back
layers of grit, getting to know her true self.
gained momentum after dark. I waited near buildings that I feared entering, inched past doorways, peered into tunnels with lights flickering, their wiring
exposed and stitched together haphazardly after generations of service. I
wondered why I had left the Bronx, but I knew, like everyone else, that
getting to the island and staying there was all that mattered. It was worth any
passed as I watched who entered and exited the building. A crying woman carried an
infant and narrowly escaped getting her shawl stuck in the elevator doors. A
group of kids descended on the street with heated desire for trouble — I saw it in their eyes.
across the street, stoic in its formality, as electricity behind glass helped reporters tell New York’s ever-evolving tome of stories.
preceding year of living behind a camera lens had made me physically smaller. Somehow my efforts to slink around corners, observing scenes until they changed
was enough—the thought of actually trying to make some visual sense out of Time
Square was a puzzle I wasn’t yet down for. After all, I had spent the last few
months of summer wandering the Jersey Shore a bit aimlessly in light of what I
expected would be a demanding first year of college.
mentioned, I spent that first month with a friend in the Bronx, but even at 17
I knew that Manhattan was all meat and potatoes and gravy…the Bronx was as
forgettable to me then as it is today. Maybe I had instigated the argument? I
think I had tricked myself into turning the page, even if it meant that I had
no place to go.
took the piece of paper out of my pocket again in what had to have been the
tenth time and read the address: 276 W. 43rd Street—the corner of
Eighth Avenue—just one block from Port Authority, Dante’s seventh circle of
hell reserved for The Commuter. Even though it seemed too close to home, after
all the bus to Jersey was all too near, it was a potential solution and a place
to finally get leave of my stuff that I’d be toting around for two days.
I got tired of watching who entered and exited the building. I decided that I’d
never likely see the people I was supposed to meet later that morning. I had
spent the night roaming the city, sleeping on and off through a film feature
that was playing on a loop, grabbing some more down time inside Grand Central
Terminal, and now it was finally daybreak.
|Grand Central Station–-by KW Designs via Flickr|