Friday, December 28, 2007
Soaked in Nostalgia: When Brooklyn Looks Cheap, it's Time to Go Home
(Photos: My Bklyn apt -- clearly far nicer than my house.)
I was homesick already, but it took a $200/mo tax hike to really hit the point home--all the way back to NYC.
Don't get me wrong--I still love New Mexico. I'm enchanted and entrapped, ensnared in its sunny clutches. But, oh, do I pine for NYC. Ache for it. Get nostalgic at the sight of the NYT, or the mere mention of the Mole people. (I miss the Metro section! We can't get that out here.) I'd even give up my washer and dryer. My car. My charmed, simple life. Happily. In a second.
My apartment in NYC (which, by the way, is charming, affordable, and huge--probably a teensy bit smaller than my house, but only by a few sq ft-- by Brooklyn standards) costs LESS per month than my ghetto shack here in the barrio of Burque. Like, significantly less. WTF?! Yeah, it doesn't make any sense to me, either. (And let's not even discuss the kind of cash I'm pouring into this place to make it bearable. Bare minimum bearable. And my salary? Less than half of what it once was. Not that I'm complaining about that. I'm grateful.)
I miss my Saturday morning bagels w/ lox and schmear; the Sunday paper in the park with Pip chasing after the pigeons; walking two blocks to the train to get virtually anywhere; my Metrocard; walking across Prospect Park to Park Slope for evening beers with my best friend. I miss my friends most of all, hands down. No contest. (New Yorkers are extraordinary. There aren't any like 'em in the desert.) I miss going out until 4 a.m., the open-all-night diners (i.e. scarfing a greasy 3-egg veggie omelette after a good party), fast service (with a hairnet, a "whaddaya want, honey," and a Coney Island accent), cupcakes and coffee from Magnolia after a good meal at Cornelia St.; the F train at Smith-9th street at night, lights gleaming across the river; bookstores one can happily get lost in--8 miles of them--and $1 carts stocked with ancient hardcovers; garden bistros in Carroll Gardens in summer; coffee on every corner; the sweet smell of roasted nuts in Union Square; anything you could ever want, even the most obscure, absurd item, within a one-mile radius; not owning a car; walking everywhere; surfing the subway; parquet floors; city cache; communion w/ Woody Allen; the hush that falls when it snows, and how clean the city suddenly looks, and how quiet it gets; dinner parties for no good reason; the Georgia O'Keefe painting of the Brooklyn Bridge at the Bklyn Museum; the simultaneous class, charm, and brash behavior of no-nonsense New Yorkers... So much more. And that's exactly what I'm missing: I know there's more than this. I want it again.
Two years, or less -- and I'm back. (I know, I'm always teasing. But, in time, I know where I'll end up.) God, two years sounds like an eternity...
I talked to a woman tonight (to whom I'm subletting my apt) and she said that NM wouldn't be any fun unless you were married w/ kids, tied down, ...like with sandbags and chains, as are most 20-somethings around here. . It's definitely a settle-down kind of place. Yet settling down sounds thoroughly unappealing. Always has. NYC is my great love, maybe. Two years and I still can't get over it. I'm still as mad for the city as I was in childhood; love it despite its many, ugly flaws.
I realized, recently, why I miss the city so dreadfully: In Burque, I'm bored. Terribly, pitifully, old-lady-in-my-bathrobe bored. Out of my East coast mind. There's no denying that life here is good--and, by comparison, easy. But I'm too young for such sleepy living. At least, that's how I feel, like I'm wasting good years getting enough sleep and staying in on Friday nights. If I hadn't ever lived in NYC, it's possible I'd feel differently. I wouldn't know what I was missing. I don't want to return fully to my party days, but I don't want to die without ever seeing the sun come up from a subway car ever again, or seeing an incredible reading, or having a NYC moment.
In New Mexico, I feel free. In New York, I feel like I'm home. Both places, no doubt, are magical. I can't seem to let go of love for either.