Every time I tell someone from my humble, but beloved city of Rochester that I’m going to the Big Apple for the weekend, I get a different response. It usually ranges from “Ohhh,” to “Oooo.” In other words, people seem either baffled or bedazzled by the notion of traveling to the cultural epicenter of the world.
New York is my source of inspiration, many times over, and while teaching in an impoverished school in East Harlem didn’t work out for me, I find the city’s noisy and beautiful anonymity calling my name when I’ve been away for too long. There are as many versions of New York City as there as people who live it, but I do think that for the most part, the city falls into two categories for travelers — The bright, commercialized metropolis and the true underpinnings that its residents see.
In preparation for this post, I googled “New York wedding blog.” The first entry that popped up was “The Lela New York Wedding Blog.” Full of decadent, chic images of skylines and the cityscape, the blog is very much of the “Sex in the City” glam-it-up caliber. I adore it, but it’s insanely up-to-date notion of fashion is intimidatingly brash for someone who quickly loses patience with fashion magazines and hesitates to venture past the sales racks of any given shop.
My New York is trendy and eclectic and sometimes kitschy, which brings me to the second item down on the Google search list: Brooklyn Bride. I was a proud Brooklyner myself during my year in New York City. I lived in South Slope, the cheaper, lower part of the family-friendly and sometimes yuppie Park Slope, and I loved it. I loved seeing people where anything and everything that made them feel comfortable and special and unique. Lower Manhattanites possess a similarly personalized fashion sense. Fashion magazines don’t tell them what to do; they own their look.
A good friend I spent time with in New York said that visiting friends is like hitting the reset button, and she couldn’t be more right. Visiting New York was like coming home and taking in a big gulp of fresh air for the weekend before heading back to day-to-day life in Rochester. I soaked in as much of the sights and sounds of the city as I could, chatting with good friends over with a simply delicious brunch at the East Village’s Paprika, yummy Asian noodles from Ramen Setagaya near Union Square, trendy Mexican food from Los Feliz in the Lower East Side and tasty comfort food eats in the Woodside neighborhood of Queens.
Future Husband and I couldn’t have been happier to see one another again when I returned. We’re well accustomed to the long-distance thing, so we still slide into a honeymoon state of mind when I come home from my mini friend-cations, filled with big hugs and sweet words. They say if you love something, let it go. I say if you love something, step away for awhile to gain perspective on how expansive and wonderful that love really is.
My last-minute trip to New York last weekend was pretty blissful, actually, and the little hitches along the way (including a pretty horrible dining experience at Panna II and a two-hour wait for Megabus in the rain) paled in comparison to how fulfilled I felt to have spent quality time at my beloved, trendy home away from home with some of my nearest, dearest friends. New York, I love you.