Last week I went for a run on the West Side Highway. Whiffs of ocean enter my nose and for a few brief seconds I am reminded I live on an Island. The sun reflects off of the shiny glass buildings and leaks light across the water. No, the waves don’t come up and tickle my toes, and I wouldn’t dip even a pinky in the Hudson with fear of getting sick, but I would give up the finest beach sunset for views of New York City. Because when New York City shines, she really shines- like a glam night club with red velvet ropes and a disco ball the size of my apartment. New York City is the sparkling girl in the red dress grooving in the center of the dance floor. She’s smiling and sexy and everyone wants to be her because she knows what she is doing. But then there are moments when that same pretty girl wanders to the grimy underground of the club. It’s dirty down there, loud and smells bad. Anything can happen in these parts. There are cracks in the walls filled with sweat and gunk and the nastiest grime in the world. It’s nothing like the upscale club upstairs. It’s vulgar and chaotic, but equally alive. This is also New York. When this city is dirty, it’s dirty- Comparable to a crack in the floor of a port-o-john or the brown gunk under a hobo’s fingernail. I know when I leave here, I will be surprised at how clean my next destination will be. I’m just not sure clean will be enough.
Some say if you leave New York, you’re not going anywhere. Some think that people who live other places, in a way, must be kidding. At times I agree with them. At times I know there is nothing in the world that can compare to this wonderful city. The fact that I won’t ever run out of things to do here is enough to simply stay forever. For now, I’ll surrender to New York City. I’ll work until 11pm and eat at my desk because that’s what you do here. I’ll ignore people and walk in a hurry. I’ll forget the beggars on the subway and the one-legged hobo outside of my apartment who hides his beer under a traffic cone. I’ll run on the West Side Highway and watch the water move. And then I’ll sit on the ground at the end of a dock and look back at the New York I’m attached to. I’ll love my city, but also find myself, for brief moments, wishing this dock would detach itself and I’d float away.