Here Is New York

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalms 34:14

 Lake Michigan didn’t smell like this, I thought, as we ventured closer. I remember the day I spent on the shore of the Lake, with the Chicago skyline behind me, traipsing between the water and the sand. I could see the sunset of that evening in my memory, the way my shadow looked, stretching along the sand in the last bits of sunlight. It was beautiful. But it wasn’t me. It wasn’t this…

From here, the world was an ocean. All I could see is water and coastline, and ahead, the Manhattan skyline. The bright, cool, clear day allowed a gorgeous view of the city. The array of buildings appeared almost natural, like distant, humongous metallic trees. They looked as though the earth thrust them skyward like other natural things: flowers, mountains, and vines. The Twin Towers glistened in the sunlight. Their equal stance so far away made them appear scalable, like rectangular mountains. The Verrazano Bridge’s suspension towers glowed their light blue that day, but the huge rivets that hold it together that I’ve seen so many times up close were too far away to be seen now. The Empire State building tapered into the sky, it’s distinct shape giving it away. I nearly cried.

The characteristic noise of the city was silenced here, making it look idealized, the way I had seen it on postcards. “Ideal Beach” is given new meaning. The expansive city looked small, quiet, like it was its own island kingdom; the bay and rivers its moat, keeping out kids who grew up like we did. Kids who will always look at the city and think they would be better for being there, and not here, on this side of the moat. I could feel drawn to it, watching it, hearing the waves crash against the solid place where I stand.

Here Is New York

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