I love New York. Yes, I said that and repeat, I love New York. Every time I walk around this city, regardless of the season, that is the feeling I get. This city does something for me. I am surprised each time it happens because I had no intention of living here until nearly seven years ago and even then, reluctantly. The path that led me here is still somewhat puzzling but here I am.
I first visited New York in the fall of 1990. I was terrified even though I visited with family who had once lived here. I was not impressed with the city skyline and I was really shocked by the state of the streets. You see just over a month before that I was a proud resident of Toronto, Ontario. For anyone who has visited Toronto, you can understand my dilemma at this time. So it may not come as a surprise to you that I adamantly declared that this was the first and very last time I was visiting this place and there was no way you could pay me to come back here.
Forward sixteen plus years. It’s 2007 and I found myself back in New York City with young children in tow and most of my worldly possession in my Toyota Camry. I must say I still did not know why I was here but I had a job albeit temporary. I was about to embark on a life for which I am sure I was not prepared. Yet, I “settled” here with my children whom in hindsight, I just knew were in shock because their mother had gone crazy and had dragged them from the suburbs of Atlanta to NEW YORK! I believed they must’ve been in shock because at 12 and 14 there was no whining or incessant complaining about leaving their friends. I wasn’t tortured with daily moaning of how I had ruined their lives. Either they were in shock or I was very, very blessed.
After about four years, I began to walk for health reasons. That started mostly because I tried to run for a bus and couldn’t – my legs wouldn’t move. First, I took Saturday and Sunday morning walks in nearby Lincoln Park and then I discovered Prospect Park, which is still my favorite haunt. I have since also walked in Central Park alone as well as a part of the JPMorgan Challenge. My weekly walks gave me the opportunity to see more of what NY had to offer. Prior to that all I saw for four years was the inside of the building I worked in and the inside of the subway system. Needless to say life was dreary and my body was crumbling.
By attending school in Midtown, I had the opportunity to walk along the various street and admire the City’s architecture. In addition, I took an art class for which the professor took the class on a field trip to gaze at New York’s public art. None of this may seem to be anything to most people reading this but you must understand that my intention was to get into the city work a few years and then quickly leave. Before this all my life entailed was work to home and back, with weekly stops at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I tried to combine as many errands as possible to avoid being outside. But I must tell you the past couple of years, I have especially loved Spring Saturday mornings. Prior to taking my wog (walk/jog) in the park, I will lay in bed and enjoy birds chirping outside my window, while the morning sunlight bathe my room with its warm rays. I have begun to enjoy living here. I have begun to embrace my blessings.I have visited Time Square Church and walked the Brooklyn Bridge after work. I am yet to see so many of the beautiful landmarks this wonderful, vibrant city has to offer. New York has a lot of simple pleasures to offer – whether you are watching the swans on the lake in Prospect Park or the parade on Eastern Parkway, whether you are strolling pass the Stock Exchange on Christmas night or enjoying Andrew Gilbert at the New York Symphony. Of course, my favorite part of living in New York is by far belonging to that wonderful group of Christians at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.