Archive | City Matters

That Stranger Called My Life

I just saw an old lover on the street. He didn’t see me (or pretended he didn’t) but I got a good eyeful. We were together off and on for four years and I hadn’t seen him in two. Recently he turned fifty, so he’s been on my mind though our connection is too dangerous to ignite with a polite phone call or card. We live in the same neighborhood so it’s a wonder we don’t run into each other. I often think spirit is protecting us by ensuring this doesn’t happen; we caused each other a lot of pain–more than the pleasure we gave each other, even. I watched him talk to someone–a friend, it looked like, but not a close one. Maybe a colleague. I watched him clasp his big hand on that man’s shoulder, then make his way down the street in the opposite direction from where I was standing. My old lover seemed smaller and bigger, blurrier and more filled in. It was a shock to see him alive at all–still human, not just an animation of my many memories. Continue Reading →

NYC, My Heart: East River Ferry Edition

This is Rosa and Vera. Both are Jews who fled Nazi Germany, emigrated to Argentina, and eventually made their way to New York City, where they have rent-controlled apartments, speak four languages, and take long walks every day. I met these longtime friends while waiting for the East River Ferry at 34th street. All three of us were fretting because the ferry were delayed, and bonded when they found out I was a card-carrying feminist who hated Trump as much as they did. “How do people not see this is what happened to us in Germany?” Vera wailed. I felt ashamed that they should survive so much only to witness later generations forgetting everything. “Past is present,” said Rosa, clasping my wrist. Then she complimented my Audrey Hepburn glasses. “With this style, you’ll find a new job soon.” “What are you doing in Brooklyn today?” I asked, admiring her pretty necklace in turn. “Well, we thought we’d sit by the Promenade and then stroll down to Sahadi’s,” she said. “Just because the world treats 80-year-old women like they’re invisible doesn’t mean we don’t like to do things.” Meeting these two birds is why I’ll never leave New York.

The Happy Unhappy Ending

I adore this Emily Nussbaum take on Sex and the City, which, for all its micro-aggressive flaws, offered a realpolitik, pagan-spangled take on turn-of-the-millennium Manhattan and heterosexual, (white)lady congress. The final paragraph had me nodding like a banshee while also recommencing my book: “What would the show look like without that finale? What if it were the story of a woman who lost herself in her thirties, who was changed by a poisonous, powerful love affair, and who emerged, finally, surrounded by her friends?” Note to self: Living out most women’s worst fears brought out your best self. Tell your story, ladybird.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy