NYC Latin Style - Revisiting the past to enjoy the present
It is a shame that I have spent 5 years commuting to this island and dreading it. I am taking a new approach, one of childlike wonder. I don't rush to the train station after work, rather I walk the close to 3 miles. I take different routes each time, finding new views and appreciating the surroundings.
There are several restaurants, bars and shops I now plan to visit. I map out the summer agenda while I walk around, half trying to find the NJ Path station and half hoping I don't so I can keep looking around. The Spring chill allows me to find these places while the weather is bearable.
Tonight I wanted to visit my favorite shop. But first.... a bit of the past
My goodness how the two decades have passed...
When I was in my early 20s I worked in the city. The New York Hilton and Executive Towers in midtown. I made many friends since I worked any shift available. As a Front desk clerk you to met the world, one guest at a time, one check in at a time.
Single and with time to spare, I never rushed home, plenty trains or buses day or night available to take me home (commuting was much different at that time). At the time Hoboken was my home and it was actually affordable. Everyone knew everyone and life there was pleasant and friendly. Before the condos and Brownstone status that is.
Once I got married my husband at the time and I both worked in the city, we practically lived there and slept in Hoboken, it was difficult trying to extinguish what was our home state. When I was pregnant I knew that I would not work in the city, I wanted to be close to my child and in the same state. Not soon after giving birth I found a job in New Jersey.
Little did I know that life's path would not only keep me from a city I grew to love but also make us strangers for a couple of decades plus some years.
A divorce, severe career change and single parenting would make me live in a safe and quiet town in NJ. That safety would become my habitual living. Once my son grew to live his own life, I found myself finding a job in NYC. I resentfully took it as the recession had hit hard and there were no other choices. The commute was nothing like the past nor was the city or anything in it.
For 5 years I spent my time trying to get out like a prisoner sentenced to life and determined to escape. Until.... a Latin style night with friends that taught me to LIVE.
You see... that safety had become a mundane life. That quietness my routine. I love the state I live in, but I hate my lifeless life.
Back to the present:
Tonight I ventured out to that store that decades later I still visit. Incense... that will make me travel at night not caring what time I get home. Incense, dipped in real essential oils. I can't see myself starting or ending a day without lighting a good incense to Zen me out. A co-worker has gone with me a couple of times before and we began a routine. Head downtown and stop for a Guinness, go to the store and shop. Eat a light dinner and stop for coffee. We usually say our goodnights at a corner where she turns one way to head further into NY and to another borough and I struggle to find the Path Station because I have the gift of never knowing where I am.
Tonight was no different, with the exception that I didn't care if I was lost. I wanted to savor the Village and walk through memory lane. Mercer Street, always some quaint shops and bizarre bars. MacDougal where a man was pretty much mouth to mouth kissing a ferret in his duffel bag. Yup, the strangeness on that street hasn't changed. I stopped at a market and bought a bouquet of flowers. I used to do that a lot. Buy fresh flowers for the dining room table, I can't even remember when I stopped doing that. Lavender bouquet was tonights choice. I eventually found the Path and headed to Hoboken where my train home would start its trip.
I should be home at 930 and I sit in the train writing this blog, knowing that my NYC wandering has only just begun. I reluctantly headed home. I can't believe I not only just wrote that but meant it. I really wanted to keep walking around but tomorrow is another work day and after 11pm, finding a way to commute home is near impossible.
Perhaps with a new attitude, a child like wonderment and a goal for a fun summer will help me to find the love I once had for this city. Help me to both appreciate its wonder and embrace the fact that if I am still here, then life has something in store for me. This time I shall listen and smile.
Even though I am cringing at the guy sitting next to me blowing his nose into his bare hands, I have absolutely no regret on staying an additional 5 hours in the city, 2 of which wandering around.
Five more stops to go.