New York Scares Me

by

Marc,

My family waiting for me

My family waiting for me at home

As you know, I’ve been traveling a ton lately. Since September 14 I’ve been away from home for a total of twenty-eight days, first in Chicago and now in New York. Mostly, I love traveling. I miss Andrew, Gertie and Imogene so much it hurts my heart, but there is a part of me that really likes to be out on the road experiencing new places.

Being in a large city by yourself for an extended period of time does have its advantages. New people at the hotel bar to chat with every night, discovering small hole-in-the-wall joints that even locals think they’re too cool for (who do I have to impress?) wearing the same clothes over and over again and no one noticing; the list goes on and on. The only place where I don’t feel the advantages is New York.

I spend quite a bit of time here and I never know what to do with myself.  I come up with grand plans about the theater, fine dining, sightseeing, museums, and concerts.  I do almost none of them.  I usually chalk it up to time.  I work really hard and often there isn’t any time to experience the fun stuff after the work is done. But, if I’m being honest with myself, that isn’t the only reason.  I think that I’m overwhelmed here, scared even.  I’m so intimidated by the vastness of this city that I often find myself paralyzed.  But why? I know it’s big, but so is LA, so is Chicago.  I am totally at home in both of those cities. What is it about New York that knocks me down? 

Marc, I think I just realized that I might have an inferiority complex.  I feel like I’m not smart or cool enough to “get” New York and New York ways, so I don’t try.  It’s kind of like how I felt about sororities in college! This is a weird sensation for me.  I’m pretty comfortable in most situations. I am fairly personable and seem to be nice enough for people to not be instantly repelled by my personality.  Nothing changes when I land at JFK.  I don’t know what there is to be scared of here.  

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s New York’s fault.  I place all the blame on myself.  It’s a lovely city.  Central Park is one of my favorite places and the fall here is magnificent.  I’m lucky enough to stay at really beautiful hotels like the Gramercy Park and SoHo Grand, so I cannot complain about accommodations.  I could do without the smell, but without alleys, I’m not sure anything can be done about that, plus you get used to it.  This is a problem entirely of my own making.  Which means I can do something about it.

So, I’m trying. I made a concerted effort on this trip to get out and do some interesting things.  Nothing extraordinary, but flex my New York muscle, if you will.  First, I took several really long walks at night all by myself; got my bearings, saw new places in the streets of midtown. I even stopped at a couple of joints for a drink along the way. 

I went to a party too.  Last week my fabulous friend Danny Seo (Marc, Danny says Hi!) invited me to a party for Conde Nast Traveler magazine at the New York Public Library.  Usually I would beg off and work (see: NY social paralysis above), but I mustered up the strength to slink into a cocktail dress and head toward Bryant Park.  The party was just fine, (I got shooed out of a photo, which was classic!) but mostly it was great to see Danny, have some fun conversation and get out of my hotel room for a change.   And we laughed…a lot.

I was also super fortunate to meet up with an old, old, old, old classmate from high school who is now living in New York.  We connected through facebook recently, and when I mentioned that I was coming to the city we decided to get together and catch up.  I could go on and on about the wonders of facebook and why it’s so important to our culture, but that’s a post for another time.  What I will say is how much I appreciate the ability to check up on and in with people from my past that I periodically wonder about.  Guy is definitely one of those people.  We didn’t necessarily run in the same circles back then, but we took an AP art class together that definitely left a deep impression on both of us. Meeting up with someone you don’t see very often can be weird and we haven’t seen each other since high school graduation 12 years ago.  What if we’re totally different people?  Even worse, what if we’re not?  It turns out it wasn’t that weird.  We actually have quite a bit in common (still) and I thoroughly enjoyed his company.  We had a few drinks, something to eat and talked a ton.  After that night, I saw Guy a couple more times while I was here.  I was so grateful to have someone pleasant* to do New York things with, like go to MOMA and visit new neighborhoods, it made the tail end of my epic trip truly enjoyable. 

So, like I said, I’m trying.  New York is going to have to be patient with me.  Let’s see what I can take on when I come out in December for a week.  A night at the theater, perhaps?  A visit to the Cloisters?   Skating at Rockefeller?  Ok, OK. I’ll slow down.

 

XO

Jamie

 

*Thanks again, Guy, for letting me tag along with you and monopolize your week.  You probably didn’t realize it, but you helped me take a big step in getting over my New York issues.  I’m sorry I chatted your ear off and I will always disagree with you about one-night-stands, but it was brilliant reconnecting. Facebook rocks!

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2 Responses to “New York Scares Me”

  1. Leigh Meyer Says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Not about you having an inferiority complex. About New York. And Facebook. And Guy. Wait, I don’t know Guy. All the other stuff is true though.

  2. Get Pissed! « ORD to LAX Says:

    […] I hadn’t seen in over three weeks.  Then I got the call.  Client in trouble…back to New York.  Homecoming had to wait a few days. So […]

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