Tuesday, October 25, 2011

City of Contradictions

This weekend, I got the chance to spend time in one of my favorite cities - New York City.  Brent was in the city for 5 days visiting companies on his Duke Fall Break.  He was leading the General Management Club's trip and coordinating visits for other students.  They had Saturday & Sunday off, so I was able to visit and just hang out. 

For me, New York is such a city of contradictions.  I just am not sure how I feel about it, even after all these years.  Just when you think you know something about the city or you have mastered it in some way, you find out that you really don't know anything.  I've been to New York at least ten times that I can remember, but I'm still not really an insider.  Back in college, I naively sent my resume to Kate Spade, thinking I would go live in the city and live a glamorous life working in marketing.  Do I even need to tell you how that turned out?  Not-so-shockingly, Ms. Spade did not acknowledge my inquiry, and it was just as well... the city would have eaten me alive.  So although I didn't end up with a high fashion career, I smile and praise God when I think of how many times he has brought me back to the city that so fascinated me even then.  Brent and I got engaged in New York City.  My teaching life changed forever when I began attending institutes at Teachers College in NYC.  Right now, I'm living my lifelong dream of getting my masters from Columbia, and Brent is exploring job opportunities there.  I just love how God has worked it all out for good and has been so kind to us by entwining our lives with NYC.

In the last 7 years, God has both softened my heart to the city, making me love it even more AND opened my eyes to the stark reality that is living there.  Right now Brent is exploring internship opportunities and the sky is the limit.  We could be, well..... anywhere!!  Obviously there are lots of opportunities in NYC for him now and in the future, and we're trying to decide:  Could we do it?  Is this where the Lord would have us?  It certainly would be fun and adventurous and after all we've been through with the city it would seem fitting that God would bring us full circle.  But can we do it... really?  Can we forget our big, luxurious, cheap housing in Texas?  Can we someday lug a stroller onto the subway?  Can we survive the winter?  It kind of makes me shudder to think of it.  See what I mean?  There's a contradiction around every corner. 

Here's a few:
  • There is always something to explore, but you can NEVER, ever own the city or see it all. 
  • I love eating out and the restaurants are so fantastic, but how can anyone afford to live here and eat out?  And how can regular people cook dinner in tiny little kitchens with daily stops to the grocery store?  I'm spoiled by my big kitchen and SUV.
  • I feel safer every time I'm in the city, but there is always a moment where I feel like an outsider sticking out like a sore thumb and everyone knows it and someone is going to mug me if I don't look like I know what I'm doing.
  • There are so many people around that it can feel exhilarating, yet isolating at the same time.  Full of life, yet impersonal.
  • The subway can be charming, but I've been in there in the dead of summer.  NOT FUN.
  • I love walking.  I really do.  But my ankles, feet, and legs ache after a few days. This summer I would just eat whatever I had in my fridge to avoid walking to get something else.
So maybe I have a love/hate relationship with NYC, and that is just the way it is!  I do know that I had a blast there this weekend, but (of course) I was kind of ready to come home to Durham.  Man I love Durham.  Have I said that yet?  Here's a recap of my NYC weekend even though my camera died right in the middle of it. (sorry)

On Saturday, we walked the park and visited the Met (which I've done, but Brent has not).   We stuck to the Egyptian collection and the European painters.  Fun fact:  Did you know that I've been obsessed with Monet ever since I was 6 when I read the book "Linea in Monet's Garden"?  Yep, I have.  Now you know.

We also finally went to Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network.  I know.... isn't it crazy that I've never been there?!  Well you can't really take a tour of the Food Network, but you better believe I kept my eyes open for Bobby Flay.  We loved looking in all of the specialty food shops and had an amazing lunch of a fresh lobster roll.

Then we walked the Chelsea Pier, which was super beautiful and fun.  Finally we walked the High Line Park, a relatively new park that spans many, many blocks.  Basically they took an old raised railroad line and made it into a long walking path suspended over the street.  It's very lush with greenery and beautifully planned with modern sculpture and art everywhere.  It was packed on a Sunday afternoon, but we really enjoyed walking the trail.  If you've ever been to the Katy Trail in Dallas, it's like that but, um, cooler.  :-)

We stayed in our favorite neighborhood - Upper West Side - and ate at our favorite UWS restaurants - La Vela, La Boite en Bois, and Arte Cafe.  It felt comforting and new all at the same time, which is kind of fitting.  We love you, NYC, and you have been good to us.  So who knows what might come of our growing relationship!

1 comment:

Airplane Alan said...

First to comment! Although I'm sure not first to read...

Of course you won't feel completely comfortable here unless you have a place to call home. If you two do decide to settle here, I promise you'll acclimate to your frequent desires to live the quiet life by cooking at home in your small kitchen. It takes a couple months -- but you'll get used to it.

Also, on those moments where you're sticking out like a sore thumb -- who cares -- most likely you're not going to see those people again anyway. That anonymity is a plus -- and allows you to be more adventurous than you might normally be otherwise.

ps - I'm disappointed you didn't go east of 5th Ave ONCE during your entire trip..

pps - liberal stuff

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