We Keep Going Back

Whenever I write about New York, I listen to Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind on repeat. My sister would shame me and tell me that I should be listening to Sinatra, but to each their own. So, as I write this I hear Alicia pound the keys while singing about a pocket full of dreams, the concrete jungle, big lights, and how the endless possibilities in New York make you feel like you can do anything.

I’ve bought into her words. I’ve stepped onto the streets of that big city and felt a stirring in my heart like I’ve felt by few no other place. While I’d like to be able to put into words exactly what creates that stirring, all I can say is that it’s real and I feel it deep in my bones. So, when my incredible in-laws suggested that Chad and I take a few days in NYC after our recent business trip, how could we turn it down?

So last week, after spending a few days in Connecticut talking all things business and photography Chad and I entered the city in a way we’ve never entered it before. . .

By train.

Just a short two hour trip (including a train swap due to ‘mechanical issues’) we landed back in the place that woo’s us with her inspiring skylines, rushing streets, and melting pot of people.

We emerged from our train and walked into Grand Central Station where I spent a moment with my eyes closed and simply listened to the noise. The life. The rush of the world around me.

Chad and I decided to trek our suitcases through the city streets to our hotel and I’m glad we did. As soon as we emerged from the darkness of Grand Central, and our feet hit the sidewalk, I felt it. That stirring.

There’s nothing like this, I said to Chad. I love how this feels.

My heart beats faster. The bigness of the world hits me. The hustle pulls me in. My mind stretches and dreaming comes easy. Anything is possible. Everything feels possible.

We had very little planned for this trip. Truly, we typically don’t plan much. We just want to see it. Drink it in. Breathe deep on a life that is so different than our own. We walk, and walk, and walk. We walk by new places and places we’ve been before. We see it different each time because the people are always different.

Our last few trips have been on the bitterly-frigidly cold side, so we were so thankful when March gave us a break and allowed us to slow our pace, to sit, and to let the scenes before us sink in.

We watched. We listened. We imagined who are these people? What brought them to the City? Were they born here? Are they visiting like us? Are they chasing dreams? Are they running from something? Toward something?

As we walked I commented, I can imagine that if you were born here, it would be hard to live anywhere else. It’s a different world. . . in the most beautiful way.

Maybe I’m glamorizing it. Maybe the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to live on these streets costs far more than I can understand, but I’m believing my fantasies. I’m believing the blood, sweat and tears are worth it for the people who do it. . .

So we walk, Chad and I. Sometimes, we talk, but often it’s quiet. Often it’s enough to just walk it silence or sit in silence and simply take it in. I’m certain no movie, show, or sporting event could hold my attention so well.

The miles and hours pass by almost unnoticed. Ten o’clock looks like noon looks like three looks like five and looks like midnight. There is always something to see.

And we see as much as we can.

In New York we are anonymous. Everyone is. In a strange, freeing way. New York opens her arms to you. . . just as you are.

And when the end of the day comes and we fall into bed from sheer exhaustion I listen to the sound of oddly comforting sirens and I know we are in a sacred sort of space. A place like no other. And I’m thankful to even visit.

And while I know there is a whole wide world to see, I also know that we will go back to the streets of NYC. We will return, again and again, because we’ve fallen in love with her. We respect her. And we’ve only cracked the surface of her beauty.

Until next time. . .