Back to NYC

No doubt this is a strange year. We got back to NYC wondering what the city will feel like particularly our neighborhood.

We have lived in NYC since 1983. There was a 5-year move to the burbs for the one reason only which is we couldn’t really afford to live here. Most of Brooklyn wasn’t an option for us at that time. We all forget how the city was a different place then.

I remember going to a party in the East Village deep in Alphabet City. In order to get upstairs to the apartment, the top floor, we were tossed the keys from the window. We made our way up the stairs to the roof stepping over a few used heroin needles here and there. It was dirty, there was a homeless encampment in Tompkins Square Park, the place felt eerily like the movie Liquid Sky.

We soaked up the grit, the energy, and the joy of being in the city. It was our own magical dream life. We lived on 28th and Madison among the SRO’s. We walked definitely around not through Madison Square Park almost nightly as we would head down to Greenwich Village for some food or a drink after work. We would talk about the endless opportunities in front of us and how owning a car lot would be a win.

The parks have changed, the city has changed and it will change again. I am almost oblivious to the graffiti and storefronts that have boarded up. After all, it isn’t all of them. I am not quite sure how many even remained open in good times. Same for restaurants who were barely making it. COVID has killed the businesses that were barely surviving to begin with. The virus is forcing change.

We left the city in December ( yes December to LA ). The city was so shiny then. Hudson Yards was the pinnacle of an edgeless chain store mono-culture which is the exact opposite of what makes NYC so special and unique. It was one of the biggest opportunities of development turned into something that the city dwellers I know shunned. I hope it becomes housing for the professionals that work in this city who can’t afford to live here any more such as teachers, police, social workers, firefighters, and others. The best part of that area is the Shed and the High Line. It deserves better.

We have been out and around our neighborhood, the West Village, having dinner out and walking the streets. This past week and weekend the streets were humming. People were out in force, with masks, having dinner, and being social. It feels amazing. There is a beat on the streets.

Perhaps it isn’t the same beat but people are resilient. NYC will recreate itself and evolve as it always has. Slowly things will begin to return in a different way as the creative people in NYC will rebuild theater, restaurants, galleries, museums, concerts, and all that this city has to offer.

It is why people flock here. And that will never stop. At the end of the day, no matter where I travel or hang my hat for an extended period of time, I am a New York girl at heart and always will be.