Friday, February 8, 2008

"He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved...New York was HIS town...and it always would be..."

I studied all the pictures in magazines and books
I memorized the subway map too
It's one block north to Macy's and two to Brothers Brooks
Manhattan, I prepared for you

There is one thing I will always be very regretful of, and that is that I will never be able to experience New York City as somebody who has never experienced New York City before.

Each day it's free admission to those who dream
You set your sights all the way upstream
Off you go, for you know that cream will rise
New, improved and rearranged
It's ever-changing, yet it's never changed
Life on command
Hear what I'm saying, oh but it's grand
That's why I'm staying, right here as planned
Only in New York

This city was the first place I had ever known. I was born there, and lived there until the fourth grade.

I like to tell people that I "grew-up" in Manhattan, even though I know that I truly didn't. You certainly do A LOT of growing-up after the age of nine or ten. Perhaps "spent most of my childhood in the city" is more like it...or "my roots are there".

I happen to like New York. I happen to love this burg.
And when I have to give the world a last farewell,
And the undertaker starts to ring my funeral bell,
I don't want to go to heaven, don't want to go to hell.
I happen to like New York. I happen to like New York.

(The only reason I was agreeable to the big move to suburban New Jersey was because my parents promised me I could get a dog once we got there.)

But, one thing is for is the first place I ever knew, and the first place I ever loved...and always, always will love.

And oh, where did all those yesterdays go
When you still believed love could really be like a Broadway show
You were the star, when did it close?
Oh, oh, oh
You´re a native New Yorker
No one opens the door
For a native New Yorker

And now, I work in New York City, and will never, ever have enough money to actually LIVE in New York City (I say as I mournfully remember the beautiful, roomy apartment my family used to live in on Fulton Street, paying hardly anything for it...), I am forced to commute.

Every morning, I watch thousands (maybe thousands?) people get on and off the train, and most of them look like they are truly hating their lives.

They look cold.

They look tired.

They are dreading going to New York City.

And it makes me quite sad.

New York City isn't a place to dread...New York City is a place to LOVE.

I enjoy commuting on Wednesdays because the commuter train is a lot more pleasant. It is always brightened-up by families, groups of friends and kids going in for the day to catch a matinee.

While most people sleep on the train into work (while hating their lives) these special daytrippers are giddy and excited and yapping away in anticipation of their day in the big, wonderful, beautiful city.

It's what I like to hear.

However, it is NOT what all those business people like to hear.

The other morning, four middleaged ladies were sitting together on the train around 7:30 AM, talking and laughing. I was trying to figure out what show they were going to see...then I could have joined in on the conversation they were having. Maybe they were seeing Xanadu!!!! And then I'd have an excuse to tell them all about my good friend Cheyenne Jackson!

But, we didn't get a chance to talk.

Because some businessman told them to shut-up.

(Well, not really. He told them, "I hate to break this up...but you obviously don't ride this train much. It is supposed to be quiet. We are all going to work." Yup, that is what the man said.)

I mean, give me a break, Sir. It's not their fault that they're going someplace fun and excited about their day while you're all miserable and need silence so you can warm-up for your very very thrilling day of sitting at a desk. It really made me annoyed.

I voiced my disapproval by rolling my the window to my right.

This Broadway's got
It's got a lot of songs to sing
If I knew the tunes I might join in
I'll go my way alone
Grow my own, my own seeds shall be sown in New York City

Another time, I was coming home on a Wednesday evening, and there was a very hyper bunch of 10-12-year-old girls (and their moms.) These girls were wound-up, giggling, so excited about seeing Hairspray and going to the American Girl Place and had probably went to the Hershey store and were on a sugar high to boot.

It made me really happy. I wished that I was that age again and hanging-out with them.

Until some guy got up and went over to them and said, "I am speaking for the whole train. Shut-up."

No, YOU shut-up. These are KIDS. They are having a good time. Is your life so empty and miserable that you just can't let them enjoy themselves? It's a public train, not a library. Those poor kids. I hope it didn't put much of a damper on their day.

I would love to feel like a be able to look around this city and have never seen it before! I envy those tourists so much.

It must be a truly spectacular thing to not know New York City and then set foot on it one day. I will never know that feeling, because my baby carriage once rolled through these streets!

And as I got older, and my family and I would walk through those streets together, my mother would often (often? About fifty times a day) say, "Watch the cellar!"

Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo
I'm streetwise
I can improvise
Whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo, whoo
I'm streetsmart
I've got New York City heart

My mother STILL says that when we're walking in the city together, and one of my biggest fears in life is that I will one day fall down an open cellar.

I actually say that to my friends sometimes. It just feels unnatural not to.

You know what, it truly IS the greatest city in the world and those miserable commuters need to lighten-up and realize just how lucky they are to be taking that train there.

This crazy New York town
Where dreams are often found...

Very proud Native New Yorker here.

Visit the city. Love the city.

And watch out for the cellars.

It comes down to reality-and its fine with me cause I've let it slide,
Don't care if its Chinatown or Riverside,
I don't have any reasons, I've left them all behind-
I'm in a New York state of mind.

Diana Rissetto

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