Two Weeks in a City That Never Sleeps

After a whirlwind 4-day visit to St. Louis from Southeast Asia, I arrived in New York City. I didn’t have time to absorb the shock my body and mind was experiencing after several months abroad, traveling. I would start my new position as co-editor at a peer-reviewed, scientific journal almost immediately.

My life in circles: I return to publishing, more appreciative of its purpose and thus my approach. Having had a hell of a time trying to survive as an adjunct, I’m more than glad to be doing something that fairly compensates my time and effort. As much as I enjoyed teaching, I also value my time off. I may teach a class, once my schedule settles a bit, but perhaps I’ll use that time to enjoy New York a little more.

Two years ago, during my first visit to NYC, I fell in love. I wrote in my notes:

I’m not moving to the city to say I’ve lived there as a writer, as so many writers do. I’m in love, really, only with her water, all of her streets. I want to study her and more than dream of her seasons. People say, I might never come back, never leave because they know me, how I sometimes disappear into everyone and cannot be reached. There, I would be free.

My second visit last summer, when I circumnavigated the country by train, I continued to fall.

This time, I’m definitely deep. It’s difficult, enlivening, everything I imagined. Some days after working too many hours, I don’t want to walk through crowded, grimy, urine-infused subway terminals. Most days, though, all I need as a reminder is a walk down the street where I can catch glimpses of humanity and our connected lives. Of course there is disconnectedness, too, but we coexist here in a way that’s unlike any other place I’ve been. I’ve heard many versions of this summary from other people. Everyone seems to be from everywhere else.

New York City is a place where people from all over the world come “at the pinnacle of their careers,” as an acoustic engineer said over drinks at The Frying Pan. It’s intense. Indeed, today, I attended a meeting in The Corinthians with a panoramic view of New York City and was chauffeured back to work in a 100K Benz sedan. Juxtapose that with a day volunteering with my co-workers at the Bowery Mission where we sorted through and lifted crates of donated food, cooked, and served meals for the less fortunate. The stories and conversations I had with community members were tremendously enlightening, heartbreaking, uplifting. Imagine this contrast in one day, one minute, one second. It’s a lot to sort through. See why I’m in love?

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