Sunday, October 02, 2005

Reflections on New York

As I prepare to leave America for Europe, I realize that in one month I will celebrate my 28th year in New York City, less a couple of years spent lost in LA and the nearly one year following, hold up in a very small town in Pennsylvania, a time when I was falling apart and an old friend held out his hand to me and pulled me up just as my head was about to settle under the water. Aside from that interlude in the west I’ve considered myself a New Yorker for nearly three decades and been proud of my association with this majestic, razzle-dazzle town where, for moments now and then, I’ve felt I belonged.

For two years I worked for the Mayor Rudy Giuliani and that job took me into all the boros of the city. I got to know someone in just about every part of town and if I didn’t know someone in a certain neighborhood, I knew someone who knew the person I needed to get to. I guess it was during that time that I felt most connected to the city – carrying a business card emblazoned with the New York City seal and driving a big black car with “official” license tags. I don’t know what it was like to work in the administrations of other mayors, but working in the Giuliani administration was pretty exciting, things got done, people paid attention when you called them and at the end of the day you actually felt you had accomplished something, even though the next day you would have a new “to do” list as long as your arm. That’s one of the things about New York that makes it the most terrific city on the planet, if you have the inclination you can do something exciting just about every day of your life. I didn’t take full advantage of everything New York had to offer but I think I got a pretty good taste.

I was in my 20’s when I arrived and attended night school at NYU in Washington Square. I was married to the girl I followed up here from home in the South. She had dreams of becoming an actress and one day informed me that she was moving to New York and I could follow her or not as I wished. We stayed married for too long and it was the end of that marriage that my sojourn in the west was all about. When I returned to Manhattan I had been reborn with a perspective on life one can only gain from having visited the deepest reaches of your soul. I’ve had more than one of those revelations – working in Africa being one and the birth of my son another.
Sebastian is now two years old, born at St. Vincent’s hospital in Greenwich Village. I’m happy he was born in Manhattan – in Greenwich Village. He has a connection to this city he will carry with him for the rest of his life. And should he decide to return to America one day, he can say he’s a native New Yorker, born in the West Village, something that distinguishes him and at the same time roots him in this town, the locus of his father’s dreams and the best years of his life - thus far.


Blogger jen said...


6:38 PM  

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