If I close my eyes, I can still smell the streets of New York City. Now, it isn't what you're thinking...well, maybe a little bit...but seriously...I can still remember the smell of spring in Battery Park and the hotdog cart on the corner of almost every street. Oddly enough, the occasional campground smell of a fire and some barbeque wafted through the air...mixing in with the unmistakable aroma of ethnic diversity. Sure there's the garbage smell and the odor of urine...but that is just part of the charm and experience of a New York visit and I loved every minute of it! My partners in crime included Kris and Shamus, Rita, Luci and my husband, Eric!
This past weekend I saw a bit of NYC that escapes the majority of tourists and we SUCCESSFULLY crammed several days of sightseeing in a two day window thanks to "The Itinerary" and the navigation skills of Kris and Shamus. We experienced the show "Wicked" (phenomenal!!) , toured the Intrepid, watched monkeys comb each other for bugs and turtles mate at the Central park Zoo, ate some INCREDIBLE food...I'm talking mutant shrimp and onion rings you'd offer up your firstborn for...did I mention the blissful surrender they called "Filet Mignon" and "New York Strip"...or how about the nine foot tall hot fudge sundae! I digress....talk of food always does that to me. We even had time to catch a Burlesque show in a seriously unique club called "The Slipper Room"....for me, endearingly reminiscent of a bawdy vaudeville act. It was awesome to be a part of that.
Our visit to Ellis Island and Trinity church left such an imprint on my soul, that the aura of those places still linger with me. I can't begin to convey how it felt to share the same space with ghosts of a time most people forget. At Ellis island, I stood looking up at the ceiling of the reception hall where thousands of people from all over the world waited to be processed into this country. I walked the halls where countless people were told they were being deported back to their mother country because of illness or inability to work making them a public case.....but that their wives and/or children could stay. Families finally reunited after years of separation, a new beginning or the freedom to practice their religion without fear of persecution. Such sacrifice...such heartache and joy under one roof.
Trinity church was like a pause,...a reason to sigh in the middle of the busiest city in the world. It was as if time stopped for me as I crossed that threshold. I learned that Kris called the church home for a bit following 9/11 along with many firefighters, police officers and rescue volunteers...and the overwhelming feeling of peace made sense to me. We walked the church grounds, viewing various tombstones and reading inscriptions of many a beloved person. Being here with my husband and friends I care deeply for....I almost forgot I was in the middle of this raging city....the bustling noise of productivity quieted...and I realized that New York City went way beyond its reputation. It isn't just a city you take the local bus tour to...hitting all the hot shopping spots so you can acquire the hottest new Christmas gift. It's a HUGE part of American history, it can attest to survival and of overcoming defeat in the face of insurmountable obstacles, it welcomes you in to the melting pot of it's diversity. New York City is someone's neighborhood...a place to call home, point out where they went to school, or kissed their first love.
We shuffled onto the Staten island ferry early saturday evening, filled up with food ( my husband wants me to mention the shrimp again- I told him "no, it's time for the pastries' spotlight"), friendship and that little sad feeling you get when you know your special vacation moment has come to an end, leaving an imprint behind. I love riding the ferry watching the city rise up in front of you...trying not to stare and failing miserably....I love the subway, and that panicky feeling I get that Luci's metro card won't admit her ( but it does) ...I love ( oh, how I love) the food and trying to make a decision on which dessert I'm going to have. Most of all, I love being in the company of friends and having the time to talk with them.
Before I knew it, monday morning was upon me....and I discovered that I missed the noise.
NYC 2009 from shamus smith on Vimeo.