Thursday, July 09, 2009

O great mystery that crowded, dirty and expensive Manhattan can feel at W. 89th Street between Broadway and West End Avenue at 7:30 a.m. on a weekday summer morning so new and full of promise. All those endless leafy blocks of brownstones leading to Central Park. The park itself a green rectangle battened down and secured in place at its edges by high rises with terraces and roofs copied from French chateaus or Greek temples or Egyptian monuments or Spanish cathedrals or Roman forums. Or roofs of simple solid geometry.

I know I'm shamelessly romanticizing the place in my elitist way (easy to do as we never make it to any poorer neighborhoods), idly purchasing suspenders on the snootier end of Bleecker Street or strange white Japanese robot monkey things in Soho, or drinking tequila cocktails and talking a mile a minute with the divine Lisa Lucas in the East Village, or snarfing down delicious Chinese steamed buns filled with fatty caramelized pork at a jammed Momofuku (not to mention the short-cake-flavored ice cream) on a Tuesday night or wandering breezily around the Cloisters with my dear sister and sister-in-law and niece and nephew while the husband with his Spanish blood notes: "Every other thing was stolen from Spain it looks like!"

But really, living in New York is tight both in space and money, and in truth, full of the same drudgery as living anywhere else.

So why does it seem so exciting, so much better than anywhere else?

O great mystery that returning back from New York I somehow love Stockholm even more than when I left. Our apartment! So airy and grand and white and full of light as I sit reading on a sofa at 3:30 a.m. on account of the jetlag, the sun fully up and flooding the apartment. The streets! So rooted and charming on a human scale, never far from a glimpse of the water. The ethos! Circumspect rather than brazen with everything hanging out and in your face, elbows and tongues well-sharpened.

Still. What I wouldn't give to have both New York and Stockholm.

The Swedish phrase for the day is välkommen åter. It means, more or less, come back soon.


Nanc Twop said...

Sounds like you had a good trip - amazing how foods can bring up memories and make you homesick for a place...

fjortisensmorsa said...

Kom hem från NY för 2 veckor när jag läser din härliga text längtar jag redan tillbaka!Dagens ord: return ;-)

Jeff said...

I like NYC more each time I visit, but then, the same holds true for Stockholm :)

We've decided to make an annual jaunt to The City - for food and opera and a little taste of Sweden via the Brooklyn Ikea!

Anonymous said...

You did go right past the live chickens shop...that was *not* the expensive 'hood. and the Cloisters- Inwood- is not a fancy 'hood, either.
But yeah, that's why I stay here, it's home.
nyc reb

Anders Arhammar said...

Jag önskar också att Stockholm låg i New York. Det hade varit toppen! Kanske i Queens, Long Island, där såg det för jävligt ut i förra veckan, men närheten till NYC förlät allt.

Loxias said...

Aaaah, Manhattan.

M.W. Nolden said...

As silly as it sounds, Manhattan seems to have this psychic buzz ~ the city always feels like the pulsating center of what's happening, where "IT" is. Of course in our global village this really isn't the case anymore but still, there is always this frisson (to use a very out of fashion word) of anticipation; one always feels there might possibly be something terribly exciting right around the next corner. Perhaps anticipation is the keyword here: why arriving in Manhattan is so exhilarating & yet it inevitably feels so good to be back home.

Celestia33 said...

I adore your gorgeous writing. I feel as if I've traveled all across Europe vicariously, all the while never leaving my humble, middle-aged, hetero-housewife, accountant existence in the Deep South. I miss New York. I even miss Sweden... and I've never left North America.
Thank you for the ride.