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Statue of Liberty

I blew into NYC last week.  And then I blew right back out.

I think that sounds really cool, the blowing in and out of NYC.  Makes me sound like I do it all the time.

But I don’t.  I barely go to New York.  Last time I was there was ten years ago.  This is practically a sin.  New York City is NEW YORK CITY, right?  An iconic place.  An American iconic place.  I should be beating down the flights to fly from Newport Beach to New York!

I was nine years old the first time I was there.  I distinctly remember staring out the car window as my father instructed me to crane my head upward, more upward, and more upward still, to see the top of the Empire State Building.  It was pouring rain, and my little brother had come down with the measles and was back at the hotel with my mother.  Dad was taking me for a quick ride through town, before we went back to the hotel to fetch Mom and little brother and return post haste to Pittsfield, MA.

Horse Drawn Carriage

I was fifteen the next time I was there.  I was newly back in the States after three years in Brussels, and considered myself a world weary traveler.  The cab drove by a theater and out front the sign trumpeted “Funny Girl”, starring this brand new star on Broadway, Barbra Streisand. I screamed as loudly as I had for the Beatles.   That was the trip my old friend from Pittsfield came to visit me, and after I’d brought her to the bus station for her trip home, I couldn’t manage to hail a cab back to the hotel, to my amazement and fury.

I started writing when I lived in Baltimore, and so there began sporadic business trips up to NYC by train.  I’d leave so early, I didn’t want to put my make-up on until I got there.  So I’d put it on in the basement of Penn Station, or at least it seemed like the basement, and all the bag ladies would huddle around me spitting “She thinks she’s so pretty.”  The station at Baltimore, in a gritty neighborhood itself,  always felt like Disneyland when I got home, wired with NYC energy.

Then there were the occasional trips to visit a friend who lived in Tribeca.  Once there was a trip for a cartooning conference, although my sister and I actually stayed in Queens.  And once there was a plane change at JFK where my jewelry was stolen from my suitcase, and I finally started carrying my jewelry in my carry-on.

New York City

The point is, I don’t know New York at all.  I so don’t know New York that last weekend when I was there, I stepped out of my hotel in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon, and automatically slapped on my sunglasses…only to see that no one else was wearing sunglasses  because the sunlight didn’t reach down to the sidewalk.

I am beginning to feel this need to get to know one of the great cities of the world a little better.  No.  A lot better.

Hanging out on the beach in CA, I will definitely have to think about it.

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