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My love affair with New York has been a vast and varied experience. From an enraged lady with a wooden stick chasing me along Fifth Avenue in 2010, to serial-killer types with no shoes on in Central Park in 2011.
In both those instances, the true highlight of my visits was buried deep within the blog lines I wrote, so buried in fact, that you couldn’t have even guessed what it was really all about:
Oh yes…the manly embrace, the knee-weakening cologne, the hair-that-does-not-look-as-styled-as-my-hair-so-I-don’t-feel-threatened…the sweet, glorious male specimen!
Somewhere along the way, my “guy component” of New York City was ripped right out of town and equally ripped from my heart, which basically left me in shreds, not unlike the stringy pulled pork revered amongst sandwich enthusiasts. I could have stayed like that, as useless gutted remnants, but God (the very same God who prioritizes rap artists winning Grammys over world issues (“I’d like to thank God, for this award…”)) put my pieces back together, and that’s how I escaped the “dark zone.”
Oh wait…it wasn’t God, it was actually ME, who woke up one day and told myself “If life goes ahead and turns you into shredded pulled pork, then you gotta become the best damn sandwich EVER!”
And that’s exactly what I did.
So even though I smell like stale BBQ sauce and onions pretty much all the time, I turned some bad into some good by converting my troubles into a screenplay then a book (which I have blogged about many times , so I digress).
There was always one tricky thing left to deal with though…and that was a return to New York City (aka “nostalgia nightmare”).
I’d been avoiding a trip to New York City for a good year and a half, always feeling relieved when my planned visits would fall through, and always hoping my friends would be too busy to see me. And who WOULDN’T want to avoid it? The laughter, the endless conversations, the manly embrace I spoke of before, and etc. and etc. and etc. that shall not be named.
Last month though, with an open spot in the back seat of my sister and husband’s car (and an unprecedented chance to annoy them for four days straight by being an official third wheel)…I went back to the city of equal parts dreams and nightmares.
This would be the section where I meaningfully tell you how I overcame my demons, danced through the East Village on a rainy afternoon (with the song “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” playing in the background), and got my groove back by one-night-standing a twenty-year-old sailor.
In reality it was a lot simpler, because New York City made it easy to have a wonderful time, when I followed these few simple steps:
1. Do cardio. That’s right, bike-riding for a couple hours in Central Park released so many “happy” endorphins, that I wanted to be friends with EVERYONE (which is weird because I’m generally not friendly).
2. Eat drumsticks. Or any kind of amazing soul food (though I can now enthusiastically recommend Red Rooster in Harlem). This is the perfect answer to doing a couple of hours of cardio on vacation, because what kind of LOSER does cardio on vacation? And also, because food was like the warm manly embrace I’d so dearly missed (even though a drumstick-hug will nine times out of ten leave me tired…and fat).
3. Look at art, or sarcophagi, or anything else that makes you feel smart, because intelligence is a good distraction from “crazy, stupid, love” (ohhh how I love Ryan Gosling, I’ve waited a year to use that title in a sentence!). I had initially planned to avoid museums, since my memories of New York with the male specimen involved “museuming,” but once I arrived I remembered how much I loved art and history before he ever came along, and dammit you will NOT take that away from me! (but I still went to a DIFFERENT museum, since I’m not a glutton for punishment).
4. Go to a neighbourhood bar in the West Village that’s bursting with charm, and order a drink that’s described AND tastes like liquid cinnamon apple pie. It’s apple pie and it’s a buzz, dude; need I say more?
5. Friends. Friends make everything better. I know I said earlier that I’m not friendly—which is true—but when I DO find people to be friends with, they mean as much to me as baby cubs to her lioness, and/or I would fight to the death in a gladiator arena to defend any one of my friends (I chose both a “cuddly” and “vicious” analogy, to appeal to all blog reader types; you’re welcome).
All in all, New York City is the grandest place of all, a place bigger than all humans, memories, and heart-shredding. It’s a place that can nurture new experiences, while still leaving room for the past, because even though male specimens come and go, the magic while it lasted is a thing to be remembered, not feared (something I finally realized by the time I came home). And now that I’ve overcome my fear, I hope to go back there many more times (and eventually buy a place in the West Village when I’m a bestselling author!).
In other news… I would like to virtually hug all the readers of my “Year of the Chick” series. New York City and living in the moment is what book two in the series is all about, and because of you amazing readers, I should hit 2,000 copies sold of “Last-Minute Love” by the end of September—less than four months since the release! None of these copies were free, oh no, you awesome readers chose to buy them, and for an independent author like myself, a number like that means the world to me! My dreams are coming true every day, but without each and every reader that wouldn’t be possible…THANK YOU!
Right then, on with autumn, my favourite season, because autumn is when I most feel like a writer (since it gives me the chance to wear sparkly scarves, long shirts, skinny jeans and tall boots, a.k.a. the writer uniform!!). Only one question remains: have YOU had your first pumpkin spice latte of the season?
You’ve always been the best damn sandwich ever. Fantastic 🙂
SO friggin’ sweet…thank you! (I can’t believe it took me so long to reply to these, but I wanted to say it was so great hearing from you after so long! 🙂 )
I just got a new territory in NYC so I will be there more and more throughout the year. It’s nice to see it through your eyes. 🙂
And you look very natural on a bike with a basket.
Bikes with baskets are the best! I want everyone to always see New York with my eyes ’cause those are eyes filled with pure love for that city 😉
Wow, now I’m all hungry for BBQ and fried chicken! Nice post!
Autumn is the best season and feels much more inspiring to write. Especially with Starbucks.
Now I’m starving! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your NYC adventure. BY the way, you have a beautiful smile…
Thank you! PS: I know I still owe you an email; it’s been a crazy few months but I’ll catch up on all that stuff during the holidays!
No problem! You’ve been a busy gal!
Ah, Romi, you are truly a force to be reckoned with… may you find an equally intriguing and magical city as NY. Boston, maybe? I`m thinking Good Will Hunting meets Romi Be Writing 😉
Haha, I’ve never even thought of Boston, good tip! 😉