Sunday, January 31, 2010

the day goes on and we continue: On Leaving New York

It hasn't quite registered yet. The leavetaking, the moving on, the new. It always takes some time. And that I can allow. And the issue of a routine is really main thing. Once there is a set pattern, a pattern to keep to, a pattern to deviate from, then you are home. Right now, it is like we are on some offbeat vacation, nothing quite what it should be even if it shouldn't be anything else. Which I suppose is enough, or sensible, at least.

There are things I will miss about New York. It is a city like no other. Perhaps the city. And I will likely still refer to Manhattan as "the city" for some time, even though I am miles away and never actually lived there. Our end of Brooklyn was really never anything to celebrate. Except for the fruit markets. I'll miss those. It's hard to beat a 24-hour fruit market.

I'll miss the trains. I would say public transportation, but fuck if I ever enjoyed riding a bus. I'll miss the city, or the things that go along with a city of such a size. Cultural institutions. Bars of all stripes. The food. The attitude of New York: a certain indifference, a certain inclusivity, a certain je ne sais quoi. I'll miss those nights where I would sober up with a sprained ankle in midtown wondering how I got there and where the closest N train was. Ok, night. But I hear it was a good one.

I'll miss the places. Grassroots. Circus Fruits. McSorley's. The Magician. Otto's Shrunken Head. Menkuite. The Strand. Yes, the bookstores will be a hard one to make up. The internet is a poor substitute for a good conscientious bookstore. So it goes.

Perhaps I will miss the museums and performance spaces of the city. I mean, I should. They tend to be rather impressive. I enjoyed the opera I saw. And the plays. But I feel as if I never fully took advantage of them, as if that was one missing page in my fairly incomplete guide to the city. I never saw enough shows. Did enough crazy and outlandish things. So it goes. I am slowly coming into my own. The universe will catch up to my story eventually. Or vice versa. We go on.

I would say that most of all I would miss my friends. And it is true. Or I will miss the times we had when we had them. Drinking at the 'roots over pitchers and arguments on Derrida. But so many of them left New York before I did, that perhaps that is a claim of a different nature. A regret of growing older and apart from, well in this case, grad school. Which is true. I miss grad school. I miss being able to have an intellectual conversation about pop culture and low culture at that. And I miss being able to have an unintellectual conversation about high art and philosophy. Those are matters that I will have to take up with the grand imperious internest in the future, I suppose.

I have never had much attachment to place. To any locale. I figure it is a product of my upbringing and the fact that I moved at certain, but formative, times. I don't find it to be a detriment. It makes the future all the more interesting, I suppose. Unbound to the past. Unbound to regret over leaving "home". Not that I don't have regrets. I regret that I didn't take full advantage of a city that I regret I never fully understood. I suppose it is damn near impossible to fully understand New York, but I should have done better, I should have done more. I regret that I didn't live in my ideal New York. I regret that while I had a neighborhood coffee shop and a neighborhood bar, neither were anywhere near my neighborhood. Or all that close to each other. I have this vision of what it means to live in New York. And I never experienced that. Not to say that my experience was bad. It just wasn't the one I had hoped for, or the one I know is there to be had, the one that suits me best. But I feel the same way about Vegas. Maybe it is only in leaving that I realize what I have missed. Maybe I'll go back. But just like re-reading a book of my bookshelf (now in one of 30 boxes on a truck somewhere on the eastern seaboard) there are so many other options. There are so many other things to see, places to go, bars to stumble into and out of.

In closing: it was a good two and a half years, New York. Thanks and you stay classy.

1 comment:

Alex said...

There are many things I want to say to this, but mainly that I'll miss you too. And I really mean that. It is only now after everyone has left that I feel the full weight of my regret at secluding myself and keeping my new friends at something of a distance. I somehow thought that two years would last forever, and instead they went by like two months. And as much as I refuse to accept that anything in life is unchangeable, this was yet another major era of my life that could have been better, and that I will never get back. I wish I had spent more time with all of you, I wish I had gotten to know everyone better, I wish that I had opened myself to new possibilities instead of remaining in my comfort zone, and for what it's worth, I'm sorry. But, this isn't about me, it's about you. Congratulations on the new life you found here, and good luck to you wherever your path may lead.