Big City, Big Dreams

New York City. She’s a rare thing.


The morning you move to New York City will be as distinct as the day when birds first learned it was in their blood to sing.

Oh, can you imagine what happened in the trees that day?

You’ll delight in the sounds of traffic that clutter in your ear lobes in the sort of way that children pile into snow forts with their gum drop visions of an endless snowball fight in tow.

You’ll have packed up all your bags with the things that can be carried.

What will be left?

A few stray hair pins in the corners of the room and all the things that break our hearts endlessly, because they promised to be fierce while they lasted but unfit for travel bags: the way she stroked your head before bedtime, the way he met you at the bus stop with umbrella in hand.

All the memories that left you thinking you were growing too big for this place; you were needing something New. Something New, Something New, Beyond Borrowed or Blue.   

You’ll have slung an over-sized black bag on your shoulder and found the right pair of shoes but, of course, this will be before you’re struck by the easy, breezy way high heels can bully an innocent pair of soles that have only proved they are good & reliable to you in the last 23 years of walking. And you’ll have tucked a line of Mr. Blue Eyes’ anthem into your back pocket, enveloped between metro card and a twenty dollar bill.

You’re going to be a part of it. New York, New York.

 …

New York City. She’s a rare thing.

She’s the girl who boycotted the senior prom. Long legs that her mama always called “them weeds.” Towel dries her bright red locks and lets them rest wild, refusing headbands and hats.

She wears knee socks in the winter and black leather in the summer. She’s got freckles in hidden places.

She leaves a trail of whispers wherever she goes. Solemn whispers coming down the alleyways. And some days you’ll love her, other days you’ll grumble at her—but every day you should marvel at a city that never knew to grow her name so big.

Marvel at her roots. The way she captures people at every fold of her avenues. The way she’ll never coddle you nor cradle you—but she’ll make you stronger than Boise ever could. She’ll make you stronger than Denver ever knew how.

 …

People will say to you, Canal Street. Ellis Island. The Strand.

They’ll rave about the Ritz. Union Square. Rockefeller Center when she’s all dolled up with tinsel and blush on her cheeks.

Me? I’ll tell you Wall Street after the business men have slipped from their desks. Lexington and Madison in the hours before the sun starts kissing every building on the block like the girl in eighth grade, so eager for every pair of lips a Friday night party could offer.

Find New York City while she’s tucking Fifth into sleep and ask her to tell you of the days when Chicago, Paris and her used to huddle close to the radio at 8pm. Of the days where Daddy would adjust the antennae of the radio,  San Franny resting on his knee, and Mama stroked the heads of DC and London as they snaked around her ankles.

“One day, you’ll grow up to be Big, Big Cities,” their Mama told them.

“DC, you’ll be the place for those who ache for politics. And London, you’ll be a bright spot though you’ll know a lot of rain. Paris, you’ve got love all up in your bones and LA, Mama always knew you’d be a glitz and glamour gal. Little Chi, my Little Chi, you’ll be the birth place of a thing called jazz. The world is going to love you so. And New York City, you, my dear, will be the biggest of them all.”

The Little Cities—all wrapped around their Mama’s prophesy—will nod in agreement over Little New York. Because that’s what you do when you love someone very much—you want the very best for them. The very, very best for them.

“Now my Little New York,” her Mama did say. “I’ll warn you now… You’ll have the days when you’ll wake up wishing you were called to be a song writer instead of the world’s most famous city, so that you could script the words that float from Chicago’s saxophone on the days when you wish Paris and London could make it home for Thanksgiving.”

“And New York, New York—you will never be easy to leave but people will leave you all the same.

In & Out, In & Out They’ll Go.

But you, your strong enough to take it.

People, dreamers really, will come to you with the most marvelous sparkle in their eyes. They’ll hitch hopes to your skyline. They’ll dance in your avenues. They’ll decide to never leave you and then stitch your name right into their legacy.

You, my dear, will see dreams come true on a daily basis; you’ll be the strong pair of arms that holds a Tiny World of Dreamers close at night. Not just any city can do that, not just any city.

 No one will ever be like you, my Little New York. I’ve always known it so.”

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6 thoughts on “New York City. She’s a rare thing.

  1. poodlecamper says:

    Loved this—–no place in the world like NYC.
    Does this mean you’re moving back?
    Hello to your Mom—“Those were the Days”

  2. lettersfromasomedayeditor says:

    Probably my favorite of your posts (so far, at least…!). Beautiful, and so truthful. Luckily, we can count ourselves in there with the rest of those dreamers. 🙂

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