So, as you may or may not already know, I have been in a year long relationship with the City of Philadelphia. We had a few sparks at the beginning when we first met, but somewhere over the past few months, the magic has started to wear off. We never really had a lot in common to begin with: its public transportation system was lacking in all areas, its highways were always unnecessarily traffic laden, the outdated alcohol laws made me angry and frustrated and let's not even get started about their baseball team. The city itself was central and lively, but too small to really get a feel for. And if you strayed too far from the bright lights and touristy areas (which was pretty easy to do if you went a street too far) you found yourself in some ne'er-do-well parts of town . I yearned for long city blocks and a girthy and easy to navigate grid system, where neighborhoods were separate and rarely interspersed with the nightlife.
And so, yesterday, I cheated on Philadelphia with my first love, New York City.
I snuck out early in the morning and told Philly I would see it later on that night, giving it a obligatory kiss on the cheek goodbye, and hopped a bus at 30th Street Station into NYC. A mere two hours later, I was staring at New York's sprawling skyline across the Hudson river and stepping off the bus onto 8th ave, we were reunited. It felt so good to be part of the crowds and buildings and hustle and bustle. Tourists, street vendors, flyer giver-outers, business men and women on lunch, and vagrants surrounded me on all side as I caught my good ol' New Yorker stride and made my way through those hot and beautifully dirty city streets. I weaved in and out of the slow walkers, ignored requests for spare change, free samples and discounted lunches.I know these streets like the back of my hand. And riding the subway? It's just like second nature.
As my day went on and I enjoyed sitting in cafes and five star restaurants, watching yellow cabs pass by, I didn't want this reunion to end. I wanted to curl up in New York's big, strong, sprawling arms and lay there forever, letting it hold me in a loving embrace with all its lights and sounds and smells and strange nuiances. I walked through Grand Central with a swift immediacy as I had to run and catch my bus back to Philly, worried that if I didn't make it back in time my current partner would know something was amiss. But with each quickened foot step, each flat shoe that pounded the pavement as I ran to catch that bus, something deep inside me longed for a day where I would never have to run again, where I would never have to worry about leaving, where I would never have to worry about making it home because, I'd already be there.
Unfortunately, Philadelphia and I are still in a relationship for at least another year thanks to this little binding contract known as a lease. But a year from now, I know I'll be back in New York's embrace, reunited like long lost lovers (and hopefully with my own long lost lover). And when it asks me if I'll be there forever, til death do us part? With tears in my eyes, I'll proudly say "I will."