Two songs competed for space in my head while in New York: "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z and "New York City is killing me" by Ray Lamontagne. Occasionally I would randomly sprinkle in a quick "In a New York minute" line but for the most part it was those two songs fighting to shape how I saw the city. I was there for four nights and everyday I had to decide if it was a "concrete jungle that dreams are made of," or if I "had to get out of New York City...New York City's killing me."
We arrived in Manhattan on the 21st by ferry. Even before boarding our ferry in New Jersey, we got the taste of the curtness New Yorkers are known for. Kyle approached a blue collar man waiting for the ferry with a friend and before getting within 10 feet of him, the man turned to Kyle and said with a heavy accent, "What?!" He confirmed our ferry was the right one and soon after we were on the streets of Manhattan. Within five minutes of being there we saw a man turned toward us and peeing into the bike lane. I learned then that there is very little private space in this city. As I write this I realize that I was probably that crazy guy carelessly peeing on the side of the road for several people driving across the country this summer. You have very little private space on a bicycle.
We all stayed with our good friend Tess in TriBeCa for the first night. We celebrated the first day of fall with squash, wine and dinner on her rooftop. It felt like we were living an episode of Friends. We soon all parted ways which was good for us, we needed some serious time apart. Jeff claimed the city was killing him and he escaped to Montauk, where we would join him in a few days. Kyle went to Brooklyn to stay with fraternity brothers, I think his beard was better received on that end of town. I stayed in TriBeCa with Tess and explored the city. I met friends new and old and marveled at the stories they told me of living in New York: the struggles of grocery shopping, the 12 hour work days, the unrealistic cost of living. Simultaneously, I felt disconnected from such a lifestyle but also very attracted. New York is like a lustful dream of an elusive girl, maybe I'll give chase. Of course there is something so romantic about moving to the big city and struggling to get by.
I rode across the Brooklyn bridge after a few days of excitement to rejoin Kyle, hop on the Long Island Rail Road and ride through the Hamptons until we found Jeff in Montauk. My mind felt full of new questions and challenges raised by the city. It was more alluring and provoking than any other place I've been, however, we are now on to the next town to experience even more and to leave with even more questions. Our minds are getting so full of experiences, names and memories and our bodies are simply tired, it will be nice to go home soon.
Photos: Our rooftop dinner in TriBeCa // Cocktails with Tess // My bike on the Brooklyn Bridge on my way out of town