Before I lived there, it was a “Marlo Thomas: That Girl” goal, a sky’s-the-limit kind of life. On my first visit, the sheets were discolored but the Rockettes were awesome.
When I lived there, it was half ecstasy and half torture. On a day when I felt adventuresome, I sat in Washington Square Park, chatted up butchers, braved the subway. On lonely shy days, I stitched satin and tulle bridesmaids’ dresses for friends’ weddings in my sunless apartment.
When I left, I visited at least once a year. With my husband. With my husband and kid. With just my kid. With friends. I curated each visit to meet my travel companions’ needs. Bead and fabric stores. Restaurants. Central Park playgrounds. Ping pong in Bryant Park. Countless Broadway shows. One time my son and I taxied directly from the airport to a Monday Night Magic Show in the Village.
Then I went alone. To be alone. Three or four times a year. Museums. Literary events. Science lectures. I even did poetry readings there. I even made friends there. I loved it and lived for it and probably used it to escape something at home that I could not yet name.
The day after my divorce, I visited for the New Yorker Festival and by some strange circumstances found myself homeless for a night. The only available room was $2,000 a night. I found a quiet place in that luxury hotel lobby and sobbed. And longed to phone my husband, my not-husband.
But then I found myself on a friend’s sofa. And she helped me settle.
So now I’m not sure what’s next for me and New York City.