Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What I'll Miss About New York:
#13 — Escape from the City

Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers,
across the hundreds of thousands of high walls,
the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia
in the middle of the night,
and you remember that this desert of
iron and cement is an island.
Desert Island (New York), Albert Camus, 1946
I'm not too concerned whether New York is the financial and cultural capital of the world, or whether that title should belong to London or Paris, Tokyo or Hong Kong. All I know is that the city is a strong taste, and there's a certain kind of relief I get when I get a break from that taste.

As wonderful as it is to go weeks on end without setting foot inside a car, there's a certain kind of relief that I feel when I step into a cab to race to the airport or rent a car to flee the island.

"When was the last time you left the island of Manhattan?" I used to ask Steph as we'd head toward the airport. It always surprised me that we could months on end without leaving our 23-square mile island home.

One trip away from New York stands out from among the rest. It was a trip to attend a good friend's wedding a few months after we'd moved to the city. I woke up early in New York, went to the airport, sped to California, and before I knew it I was on Ocean Drive in Carmel, CA. To go from the din of New York – the ambulances and the unending human motion – to this, the hushed motion of the waves, was a shock to the system.

What's this? After living in New York City for three years, I'm returning to California. These are the parts of my New York experience that I'll miss the most.

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