There is nothing quite like it, the crowded sidewalks, screeching horns, moistened summer air sweetening the filthy streets…. the city to me was paradise. An insane chaotic two weeks where opportunities and fallen promises went to live and die. The weekends were the worst, so many people filtered the streets, the shops, the park, swarming and weaving through the crying sirens of the tumultuous city. I wouldn’t dare go near Times Square, not once during the two weeks, a tourist trap, it was born to consume money.
I lived in dorms up near the Spanish Harlem, took the 6 train to school every day from 10-3. The air was hot and sweaty, the steam of the subway would stick to my skin, perspire down my neck, and kiss my burning lips. New York City is like a lover, your home is a partner, New York is the place to run away and live in the night. You see the city grabs your hand and holds it tight as it whispers faintly in your ear, “get lost with me tonight”. I ran down streets, crushed my way through closing subways doors all in a desperate rush to keep in time with the city; every morning I would yank out a dollar bill for the women selling coffee, the smallest size cup was decorated the quintessential “We Are Happy to Serve You” saying. One morning I even spilled my overly sugared cup of coffee all over a young women’s cream colored cardigan, my friend and I both chuckled at my unfortunate series of events.
The city constantly keeps me on my toes, never lets me fall but would push me just far enough to enjoy a little risk; like a lover it never lets you down but always keeps you running. Not once was my life slight of entertainment, performers on the subway led to my outlandish childish behavior; while taking the 6pm train at night my friends and I would obnoxiously mouth the words to a stupid teenage angst band as the rest of the subway car looked on with queer wondering eyes. I remembering being in Brooklyn, smiling ear to ear as I paced down the street wearing my favorite denim mini skirt with a pair of short sixties heels. The sidewalks always poured out steam closer in the early morning, on each block a crushing drill screeched into your eardrum while taxi cabs raced past on 5th ave. ‘The noise pollution is terrible’, people would say, but to me it was comforting, the constant noise reminded me I was never alone.
The city closed in at dusk, allowing the sun to settle in a field of pink petunias over the skyline. With the Lumineers sweltering through the speakerphones of her iPhone 6, I picked a yellow daisy from the grass to jokingly put it in her boisterous curly hair and snap pictures with my clicking old film camera. Central Park was quiet with runners and lovers as we walked the outskirts of the reservoir.
The day after next, we hopped on the subway to escape the congested downtown; while walking through time square station over to the E train the smell of sweat bore heavy on our sense, lingering and protruding at us. Arriving in Greenwich village, we found our way into the nearest coffee shop tired from the commute with drained minds. The village had a calm serene escape just like the many Burroughs in New York, the breeze felt lighter there. With a disposable camera, we snapped pictures of each other, on park benches, under streetlights, all across the sunlight summer night.
I remember the first rainfall in New York, a light scattering of water fell as we walked the gray tinted sidewalks; it was bliss being rained on during the sweltering heat of July. It was only until the rain came flooding down three times, that I notice the smell of rainfall sweetening the air. It ate at the heels of running pedestrians, soaked my hair, drenched my clothes and left me slightly crumbled by the unexpected of it all. I guess that’s what a lover does in the end, leaves you slightly crumbled and drenched in a lustful haze, it is only until you are gone that you realize the true wonderment in the city of dreams.
© 2015 Reef Magazine