Last night I started writing a post about my NYC memories.
Things that hold onto my heart and remind me of the beauty and the joy that is New York.
I got caught up in talking about things like the food. The food in NYC is incredible. But you know that. You know *I* know that. I don't need to focus on that. I need to stick to the moments. The good and the bad. If food should make an appearance, so be it.
So I look to my memories of nights out on the Upper East Side with friends. $40 cab rides home to Brooklyn. Quick stops at the diner for a grilled cheese. Kamikaze shots and Alabama Slammers.
Walking hand in hand with my now husband to the train through a snowy Manhattan night. Losing a glove somewhere along the way as we tightened our grip on one another - finding each other somehow.
The first time he drove his new Saturn Coupe in the city. We weren't even dating then. He picked me up and we made our way (with our then significant others) out of Manhattan to Atlantic City for the weekend. Four of us in a tiny car. I can still picture it.
The diner a friend and I used to go to - we'd sit and talk for hours over melted cheesy dinners and mashed potatoes. Our little Greek waiter who never asked us to leave. Irish coffees on snowy nights.
The park across the street from my office. I met friends there, ate lunch there, finalized a break-up there. I can still feel what it was like to sit facing the building that held so many people I grew up with over the 9 years we worked together. From office to office, Manhattan was our home.
The happy hours that never ended. Random bars with names like The Stoned Crow and No Idea? and Bar 19 and Barrow Street Ale House. Pool tables and cigarettes and way too many ciders.
Living on the Upper East Side and walking over to Central Park on a Spring morning. Headphones in my ears, music blaring and people brunching on the sidewalks of local restaurants.
Bagel stores, diners, pizza places. Ben and Jerry's ice cream from the corner bodega. Polyester's. Culture Club. Webster Hall. Dragging my laundry across First Avenue. Doing the same with our very first Christmas tree. Two roommates in a duplex apartment. Many many New Years Eve parties.
Yoga classes on 14th street, kick-boxing and roller-blading in Chelsea, bellydancing on the Upper West Side. Latin fitness with a group of co-workers. Bellydance with another. Tapas in Manhattan. Guacamole made fresh at your table. Bachelorette parties. Feather boas and candy necklaces. Walking arm in arm with the people I loved.
On the day of my first job interview in the city I met up with a friend and we went to the NY Rangers Stanley Cup Parade. Many years later, making that same trip walking downtown with friends to catch a few minutes of ticker-tape for that pinstriped NY baseball team. A similar walk from the office to the San Gennaro Festival. Zeppoles and powdered sugar that stuck to your lips and fingers. Splayed all over my shirt.
Staying up late in junior high school when the Mets won the 1986 World Series. The incredible thrill I get, the chills up and down my arms, when I watch games 6 and 7 to this day.
Thinking of the game at Shea I went to mid-September 2001. I took the 7 train and traveled solo. I went to the game to feel. It was a Friday night after baseball started up again in New York. Flag flying, tears flowing. Emotions high.
The moments it all came clear. The blue sky I looked up at as I walked from the subway to my office, still unaware. The fighter jets overhead as a friend and I walked uptown, inching our way closer and closer to a means of getting home. The view from the window of my Astoria apartment. A totally different sky.
So much. Too much to rehash every year, and yet we always do. We have to. We need to. Sometimes we don't need to, but we do anyway.
This year I approached things differently. I submitted a post to Band Back Together for today, the eleventh anniversary. I talk about moving forward, while always, ALWAYS looking back to remember.
I've written posts each year for my blog. Last year, for the tenth anniversary.
In 2012 I compared, Then and Now.
In 2009 I lacked my own words. I borrowed someone else's.
Today I am tired. I'm sad. I'm thinking of the words I used when explaining this to my daughter, albeit briefly, this morning.
"Many years ago there were some bad people who did something bad on this day," ... I found myself pausing for a split second. Would she learn about this in school today? I HAD to say something more. "And because of what they did two buildings fell down in New York City."
How simple is that? It's way too simple. Way too easy.
But she's five. Five and a half, if we're pushing it. She's in her third week - not even third full week! - of kindergarten. What else could I say?
The day will come where more words will be necessary. And I hope that by then I will find them. In the meantime, I'll remember in my head, my heart, every aspect of my being - and she will help me to forget as the day goes on.
And every year the anniversary will come. People will cry. Shake their heads. Take deep breaths and try to move on. And so will I. But I will always write.
Now you know why.