city love

In high school, I was convinced that I was going to grow up, move to NYC, and be a writer.

I grew up, I’m a writer, but I do NOT live in the big city. Still, two visits have now confirmed, I love the city. And I love other big cities I’ve visited too, like London, DC, LA, and Denver. Last year, we had the opportunity to move to NYC, even, and were sorely tempted, but the job wasn’t right for Jon, and in Little Rock we stayed. Now, Little Rock is a LOVELY city, but it’s got Little right there in the name. And while I will be the first to sing the praises of La Petit Roche, it’s not exactly bustling. So, I will have to scratch my city itch with periodic trips to real metropolises, like I did this weekend. I went to NYC with my sister Jessica to help her pick out a wedding dress and have some fun.

We used Air BnB (which we have used and loved before, in Costa Rica) to find a place with a cool young couple in SoHo, so I think we traveled more like locals than tourists (thanks for a great time, Alex and Lil!). I mean, it doesn’t get much more authentic than trudging up to a 6th floor walkup over a curry place, does it?

In addition to our (successful) wedding dress mission, we were all over the city. We revisited some spots I loved on my last trip (food may have to be a post in and of itself), saw MoMA, saw the Empire State Building, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, checked out the DUMBO area, explored the Upper East Side, saw an amazing concert (shoutout to my sister’s friend Jessica who got us in to see Lord Huron for free! Which, locals, they’re playing Stickyz tonight, so go see them!), and ended our weekend with an evening in Little Italy. We walked a million miles on swollen feet (haven’t had that experience since pregnancy!), enjoyed some excellent people watching, and just had the BEST time. I’m already dying to get back and wondering if I can swing a yearly Seester Trip to the city.

Here are just a few of the highlights:

People around me were looking up, so I turned around, and saw this. Oh hi there.
People around me were looking up, so I turned around, and saw this. Oh hi there.
Lord Huron. Never heard them before the show, but they're a new fave. If you're into bands like the Avetts, My Morning Jacket, and Ryan Adams, give them a listen.
Lord Huron. Never heard them before the show, but they’re a new fave. They kind of sound like Fleet Foxes with a bit of a western twang.
The Manhattan Bridge is beautiful.
The Manhattan Bridge is beautiful.

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Jessica taking pics on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Jessica taking pics on the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Shortly after this, I was very nearly killed by a kamikaze cyclist. I saw my life flash before my eyes.
Shortly after this, I was very nearly killed by a kamikaze cyclist. I saw my life flash before my eyes.
View from the Empire State Building.
View from the Empire State Building.

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Seester Love!
Seester Love!
Eating my bagel and lox from Russ and Daughter's on a bench in SoHo.
Eating my bagel and lox from Russ and Daughter’s on a bench in SoHo.

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a new york minute

Yeah, I'm such a tourist that I even snap photos in the subway. So sue me.
Yeah, I'm such a tourist that I even snap photos in the subway. So sue me.

I’m going to blog in more detail about my big New York weekend at some point when I have the time to sit down and detail such a whirlwind properly.  But for now I just wanted to share one perfect moment.

The subway is hot, smelly, and crowded.  It’s not a happy place, much as I love public transit (and I really love public transit!)  And yet, Saturday night, after a perfect perfect dinner at Supper, and a stroll through Times Square that ended in a downpour, we found ourselves in a subway stop and despite the heat, despite wet feet,  found ourselves lifted while simultaneously underground.

At first he seemed like any other busker, a man with a guitar in a subway.  He stood out a bit, I guess, because usually you see skinny white guys with acoustic guitars, not old black men.  But somehow, maybe everyone had, like us, had a little bit of wine with dinner and was feeling the love, maybe they were all just tourists, or maybe, in the rain, we were all just looking for some sunshine on a cloudy day, slowly everyone started singing along.  Within a couple of minutes, he had everyone at the stop singing along to “My Girl.” And not just sorta singing either.  Real, spirited, practically church singing.  I guess you say, what can make me feel this way? My girl, my girl, my girl….

Toward the end of the song, trains pulled up on either side of the platform and the singalong dispersed with raucous applause as we all got onto our trains with smiles on our faces, many humming to ourselves.

We may not have had time to toss a dollar in his guitar case, but I wish I had.  If you ask me, that man should be on the city payroll for performing a public service– making wet, tired, foot-pained, cranky commuters stop for a few minutes and just sing along.  It’s almost like the month of May.

this cricket is headed to Times Square

Image via Googles LIFE photo archive.
Image via Google's LIFE photo archive.

In mere hours I’ll be hopping a plane and headed to New York City.  I’ve never been, though I have been advised in How Not To Be An Annoying Tourist, and am hoping that I can navigate NYC at least close to as well as I managed in London, a city I absolutely loved.  For this Southern girl, New York is mostly a construct of film and literature, so I’m trying to keep my mind open so I can experience a new place without expectations.  We’re traveling with our two best friends, and a major purpose of the trip is to do my husband’s 30th birthday up right.  We don’t really have a concrete plan, but I’m sure we’ll have a great time.  Have a great weekend, folks!