Old pictures from one of our many Coney Island excursions (pre-Stella). See? Only in NYC!
OK. So here's what happened.
NYC showed up at my door this weekend. He had this huge bouquet of my favorite flowers -- hyacinth, hydrangea, blue irises, bluebells -- and a bar of artisan dark chocolate with dried cherries. Damn, this guy knows me inside and out!
I didn't want to let him in, but he looked so sad, and he needed to put the stuff down, so I told him, "just for 10 minutes, buddy."
He started to cry. He said he never meant to hurt me, that the pollution and crazy neighbors and rude people and overpopulation and high cost of living were crappy parts of his personality, but he could change! He showed me a newspaper article detailing how housing prices were going to drop even more in him, and I couldn't help but smile.
He took me to one of my favorite restaurants, strolled with me on my favorite streets, stared out at his ocean with me, reminded me of all the fun times we've had and just how far we've come, whisked me off to exciting places on the spur of the moment.
Yes, friends, he made me fall in love with him all over again. Please don't judge. You don't know what we have. You don't know how he makes me feel. Yes, he can be harsh sometimes. He can make my life incredibly difficult. He keeps me from my family more than I'd like, he can make me frazzled and bitter, but my oh my, he is exciting!
Forgive me. I just couldn't resist.
The Brooklyn Baby Daddy, Stella and I had a marvelous NYC weekend. We went to the Bronx Zoo on Saturday. I hadn't been there in over seven years, and at that time I didn't really enjoy it. It had been a brutally hot day in August, the zoo was crowded with cranky visitors, I had to go there to pick up my first (and very meager) Teaching Fellows paycheck (I have no idea why they made us trek out to the zoo for cash), I was so poor I couldn't afford to buy lunch, and Dave and I were on a "break" that caused me to cry at the drop of a hat. This weekend was quite different -- cool and breezy, not too crowded, no lack of money or romantic unhappiness to distract me, an adorable toddler through whom we could relive our youth. That zoo is incredible and we had a ball!
Saturday, we had a lovely picnic in honor of a friend's birthday in Prospect Park. Again, the weather was outstanding. The crowd was smart and cool, and Stella loved being around so many new people. We finished up by playing in our favorite of all the NYC playgrounds and picking up some Five Guys Burgers. Can you say perfection?
Yesterday, we went out to Jackson Heights, Queens, to visit a friend of Dave's and his family. I hadn't been there in about nine years and was delighted to see that it was still as lovely as I recall. I spent a lot of time there in my early 20's, because that's when I lived in the bad part of Newark, NJ (yes, there is a "bad part" and you don't ever want to go there) and was doing a lot of late-night theater. Those two elements combined to make me scared to go home at certain hours. So I spent many nights at the spacious 1-BR apartment of one of my dear friends and fellow producers who lived in the Heights. I remember liking her neighborhood, but thinking how I'd rather live in a much smaller space in "the city."
I couldn't help but smile at how things have changed -- how I'd much rather have more space and live in the outer boroughs. I also marvelled at how much better my life is now. I was incredibly lonely and poor at that time, uncertain of my future, missing my family, worried that I'd made a horrible mistake by moving out here but too proud to go back home.
We had so much NYC-style fun, that it's hard not to be a tiny bit wooed. It didn't hurt that we drove past the Statue of Liberty several times, a sight that never ceases to inspire and delight me. It also didn't hurt that I wrote down in my planner all the upcoming kid-friendly summer events and found that, if we so choose, we could spend every weekend, plus several week days, doing extremely cool stuff. Oh! And we're wickedly close to the ocean. I always wanted to live close to the ocean!
So...here I am again. There really is so much I love about this place, not the least of which is the amazing assortment of friends I've gathered in my eleven years here (my official anniversary is in a week). It can drive me crazy, goodness knows, but it can also fill me with excitement in a way no other place can.
So, for now, we wait. We wait to see what real estate prices will do. We wait to see how secure our jobs are. We wait to see what we think of some of the places we visit on our road trip this summer (Savannah, Nashville, etc.). We wait to see if I can manage not to slip a cherry bomb under my insane upstairs neighbor's door.
And don't worry. I've told NYC that this is his last chance. If he hurts me again, I really am walking out that door for good. Nashville's been calling and he's awfully cute -- in a brawny kind of a way.