Sometimes I close my eyes, to picture the sidewalks and buildings on Lexington as I walked down the street to Scotty’s Diner for breakfast, fuel for another day of exploring. The city may not sleep, but it certainly naps. The streets at 7 am barely register any people, or the post-college grads in the Murry Hill neighbourhood don’t want to wake up to their adulthoods. Between cups of coffee, I looked out to the street, taking in the Citibank and Duane Reed establishments that dot the city, even in Times Square. Winnipeg vanished as soon as the plane left for Montreal. The only times the city entered my mind was the evening phone calls home. It’s like my brain said oh, yeah, we have this life back in this other city.
Getting back home and acclimated proved harder than I thought. Forget the cold I picked up thanks to sweating and cooling in the mild temperatures and walking to my destinations between subway rides. Winnipeg threatened to box me in, strapping me in with the connections to the past, the people who don’t see you for who you are now but who you were before. It leads me to cut ties to with FaceBook groups for alumni from my old schools. Colson Whitehead in his book Colossus of New York: A City in 13 Parts, finally put words to what I felt coming home:
Talking about New York is a way of talking about the world.
For a while during February and into March, I hated this city. Now I feel ambivalent. New York, however, showed the homeless sleeping in full view near towering buildings meant to say hey, look, I am powerful and influential. The skyline at Portage and Main pretty much says the same thing not far from Siloam Mission. Both instances keep my feet on the ground and not floating up in a haze of idealism. I began taking pictures of places around Winnipeg to offer a more objective point of view.
When I decided to feature two New-York-based Christmas songs, I feared people getting tired of hearing about the trip. “It’s just a trip,” people would say. If it’s just a trip why would I want to go back? A friend once said to me, some cities enable you to get closer to the person you truly are. In New York, I managed to bring her into the light a bit more.