Journal February 11th 2010 A journey through New York

The Girl with Everything

Today I dared to reminisce.

This time last year I was in New York, having the time of my life and loving my writing classes. I’d learnt (the hard way) how to keep the high maintenance NYC girls at arms length and the friends I adored close. I’d learnt to say ‘no’ and had my social life down to a fine art; one big night per week, only one (max) with a ‘crazy’ and at least one quality evening with a good friend and every weekend upstate with the BoyFriend.

I worked every morning and then got myself ready for the day and walked the 15 minutes to my favourite coffee shop almost every weekday. It’s just glorious, I’m living in a dream and having every confidence I was soon to be living the dream.

And then it came crashing down on me. I lose my hard gained new friendships and contacts, my NY apartment living, my perfect new social life and my lovely weekends in the country.

So this morning, out of the blue, I find myself on Google maps’ Streetview. Actually not completely out of the blue as I was reading an article about how to write about places you’ve never been to and it recommended Streetview as a way of seeing a place as it truly is.

I started my map journey where I had stepped out hundreds of times, my gorgeous, spacious (shared) apartment on West 93rd Street. I turned right towards Central Park. Today the hot dog stand is not on the corner but I guess it’s still early. I look for the bus stop across the street on the park side from where once or twice I’d taken the bus to Harlem to pick up my train upstate from 125th Station for the country weekend with the BF.

I walk up to 110th Street before leaving the ever wonderment of the park behind me and head west towards my coffee shop. I’m taking the scenic route to today. Upon reaching Broadway on this large cross street, I turn right and pass Tom’s Diner, famously (apparently) where Seinfeld was based, the Italian deli from where I always managed to find some goodness and the card shop next door that was the catalyst to bring me to this area in the first place. I didn’t find a suitable Valentines card here for a fledgling liaison with the BF last year; instead I was successful further downtown in Borders on Columbus Circle, my other favourite part of the city.

I walk up a few more blocks until I reach Aerosoles, my newly discovered but immediately favourite boot shop where I bought some much-worn lace up shoeboots. (I’m not so into shoes and damn they have a sale on today!). The boots are currently residing in the upper west side where I should spend most of my time and the rest of my belongings are with my BF Upstate where I should spend some of my time.

Finally I walk one block down to 113th & Broadway to walk past my coffee shop. I never do remember the name but to note for the record, ‘Nussaum & Wu’ on the opposite corner of the magnificent bastion of education, Columbia University hence lots of students and professor types with their heads buried in tiny laptops. Today is a toasted bagel and cream cheese day (less than $2) and the normal medium coffee with cream ($ditto). The scenic route has bought on a little appetite.

I’d normally emerge a couple of hours later, having written my class assignment, my weekly journal, a movie review or any other opinion piece that took my fancy, into the chilly and darker New York city air sometimes with an even bigger smile than when I went in.

On the way home, having passed the almost intriguing (and so on the to-do list) blacked out windows of Smoke, a jazz club, I decide to walk past the site of the much anticipated new Whole Foods store being built on 96th St, just a few minutes from my apartment to save me going all the way down to 60th. This is the closest thing to Marks & Spencer and although barely touches the loveliness of M&S, I’m grateful to have it.

Of course this is now open and I want to visit. Just as I can’t wait to go back to my favourite brunch place on 83rd and Amsterdam, ‘Good Enough to Eat’, a place I have yet to take the BF to and was very much looking forward to him enjoying, like I have done for many years. I’d also promised to take him to the Cage Wha? and Café Vivaldi both for live music. I had so much planned. Correction, we have so much planned. To say I’m looking forward to going back home is like saying I’m looking forward to breathing again.

NB I’m writing this overlooking a huge supermarket in Birmingham, UK. Not quite Columbia University…..

PS I’ve not had my staple diet of bagels and cream cheese since returning from New York almost a year ago. Writing this has put the taste in my mouth once again so I am going straight into that supermarket to purchase both.

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