Dear New York,
I want to tell you that I wish I was there. I do.
I'd probably be one more brooklynite soaking wet, and offering her shower, but I wish I was there with you. I'd be one more Astorian playing 'apples to apples' drinking whiskey in the dark. One more east villager, taking shelter in other boroughs, but still I wish I was with you. Just one more person laying claim to you. Perhaps I'd feel as helpless as I do here, watching anchors wading in water, and calling those with working phones, who seem to say "we're okay, we're here", who the day before said "we're okay, we're just waiting". Maybe it's selfish, but I wish I was with you, for the waiting then and now.
I wish I could be in the Rockaways, or Staten Island, Dumbo, or Brooklyn Bridge Park, doing something, giving something, instead of sitting here as people complain that it's a bit too cold. I bite my tongue as they say "It's only like 40 blocks right? Can't they walk?" or "They get storms all the time you'd think the hospitals would be prepared". I leave the room knowing this is said by people who can barely drive in three inches of rain. I say nothing, because I guess I know, I no longer have claim to you. After leaving you over a year ago, I imagine I have as much claim to you as I do to my childhood weekends at the Jersey Shore.
I've wasted a lot of love letters. Retroactive love letters, sent after break ups and almost relationships. I've wasted a lot of words on things and people that didn't deserve them, and yet I don't know what to say to you. But I'll try:
You are the most resilient bitingly beautiful place I know, and you harbor the most amazing people in the world. People that have come from all over the world to quench their curiosity in your harbor, to get lost or be something bigger. People who are filled with humor and love and passion, people who create from days stuck inside, and days walking your streets, people who need to feel the ground under their feet, people that chose you. You are the most beautiful place in the world. Not because of palm trees, or sea views, or cliffs, or things that mother nature should claim, not because of ancient architecture or aesthetics, not because of old world european charm, or consistency, or history but because of your pulse; your people. Your people; they come to you with their beautiful restlessness, their need for consistent re-creation, for simultaneous anonymity and community, for simplicity, and resilience. Your people who move through your grooves and you in turn shape us. You give us the hope that you can literally turn a corner and everything shifts, that you can stake a claim in a city of 8 million, that you can be saved from loneliness with a smile across a subway platform, that you can recreate. A little water never hurt you, you've been through worse, and will weather worse. Perhaps if you could speak you'd tell us we we're overreacting, that you're cool, you'll deal with it. The lights will all come on, and you'll brush yourself off. You always do.
Miles away I wonder if the basement of 40 Jewel is flooded, if the roof at Garden Place is holding, if the vegan baker on St, Marks is going to be able to afford repairs after his lease went up. Is McGuinness is at a stand still as people wait for gas? I wonder if Cup on Norman is serving coffee to those on their way to walk the bridge, and they probably are. And it's strange because miles and miles away, this is the most I've felt like and least I've felt like a New Yorker in my life.