We spent three nights in New York City on my third visit there, graciously hosted by friends from college. Living up north, near Fort Tryon Park, our friends said they were on their way out of the city. They had a huge apartment by local standards, but I think the logistics of getting three young children out of the building—whether for school or a visit to the park—was beginning to wear. I felt a bit jealous when my friend described all the jazz clubs he used to visit when he first lived in the city. And as we walked through the Meatpacking District and along the High Line, I was grabbing at an experience that was always moving on, away from me.
When I was just done with college in the mid-1980s, when moving to New York would have made sense for someone who wanted to be a writer, I didn’t do it. I don’t remember having a particular urge to be there, or maybe I was afraid of not being able to pay the rent. It may have seemed too vast to a young woman from Kansas City who dreamed of going to India or living in London. It doesn’t make any sense, but I’m more inclined to live in New York now than I have ever been, though I don’t know how long I’d want to stay. It would be nice to stay for more than three days. Three months, maybe.
My friend took me on a tour of Central Park at my request; Todd was trying to work that day. Six
weeks after the end of cancer treatment, I wasn’t strong enough to circumnavigate the entire park, but we did visit the center of the park from the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir to Strawberry Fields and the Alice in Wonderland statue. I believe we started at 86th Street, across from the building where John Lennon lived. Somewhere in there—I was still a bit dazed, I realize now—we stopped at stairs leading down to a fountain by a small lake (Turtle Pond?) and up to the beautiful tunnel at right, where a group of teenagers were singing and a man blew bubbles as large as exercise balls.
That night we went out for dinner at Eataly Birreria, a rooftop restaurant and brewery, starting off with meat and cheese and progressing to more meat and—in my case—a chopped kale salad. The food and drink were good, though the waiter tugging at my plate before I had finished all the food was a bit disconcerting. Afterward we browsed the shops downstairs—it was a fun place.
(For some reason, writing that reminds me of my first visit with another college friend in, I think, August 1981. We were having treats somewhere, and she told the waiter in no uncertain terms that what he thought was a petit four was definitely not.)
After saying goodbye to our friends, we stopped at Sarge’s for brunch with my niece. We drove through intense traffic to the Holland Tunnel. And our brief stay in the city was over.