I was just about to step outside and break away from my normal routine. I decided to talk a walk. I wanted to take a break from my usual scene. I wanted to get away from the group of my so-called friends.
I wanted to separate me from them and the self-absorbed conversations about this one keeping up with that one. I was young and the city was still new to me.
To me, the city was the biggest playground of all. And there was something for everyone. Anywhere I looked, there was always something to see.
There was certainly more to see than the Times Square attractions and the pickpocket spots or the places where under-aged knuckleheads attempted to purchase their fake IDs.
There were more than the peep show spots and the long legged women that worked corners at night, smiling like, “Hi,” and waving to strangers with hopes to make an exchange of intimacy for money.
I remember the first working girl I saw.
I I remember watching her walk down 42nd Street. She was bursting at the seams. She was sex on high heels with a huge bust line just waiting to explode. I saw this and more.
I saw places from the Eastside to the West. I went Uptown and Downtown, stood on rooftops, explored, experienced, and yes, I paid for all of the above.
But it was worth it.
I remember when I was downtown someplace. I was somewhere in a pretentious crowd doing pretentious things. I wished I was alone so that I could experience life without the influence of anyone else.
I wanted to get away from the fake and the plastic
My crowd was young enough to still howl until dawn but old enough that life was already underway. We were early in our careers.
I was early too. I was confused on who I should be or what I should do.
I was unsure. I was only young and eager to feel; I was eager to learn and eager to see everything the city had to offer.
I wanted to break away and see the city as she is because to me she is beautiful. To me, she is wild, exotic, and crazy.
I wanted to see the city without being influenced or swayed by anyone else.
I wanted to walk down by 14th Street and see people.
I wanted to see real people doing real things.
Everyone seemed to be living their life; each as an individual and happy to be independent of anyone else. They were happy to be them, and free to walk around and be dressed as who they are.
I wanted to break away from my crowd to celebrate these things. I wanted to walk through the parks and wonder what it would be like to live here, to live in an artist’s loft in some crazy little walk-up building.
I swear, the city and me have always shared a romance.
Even now, I am decades older but I still see her as new.
She will never grow old.
She has changed for sure. She has been altered and abused, but she will always endure.
This why I always look downtown to where The Towers used to be. I look and remember. I say a word to The Father and whisper to Heaven with hopes my friends will hear me.
I swear she is my first love.
She is my inspiration, which is why I needed to see more of her. I needed to feel this. I needed to see where O’Hara lived or where Carroll lived and know that imperfect people were capable of writing such perfect things.
There is always something to see in the city.
One day, I watched a young teenage couple set up a picnic basket to have a little picnic on the subway. It seemed they chose a line on the subway and they took it as far as it goes in both directions.
They people watched. They held hands. They experienced young love in an amazing way. I admired them. I admired their bravery to be them, to live, to love, to smile, and to hold hands.
I watched them and swore love should be this way for everyone. Love should always be this way, desirable, and on fire without the threat of ever burning out.
I watched the teenage couple and thought about young love and how it grows into old love. Either way, “Love is love is love is love,” and that’s how it should always be: In Love.
I walk these streets and meander through the crowds. I moves through the flow of pedestrians and laugh like a kid, because I will always be a kid at heart; so help me God!
I love this place.
She will always be my queen
and I will always be a prince in her kingdom