New York City

Gorgeous November sunset from the Brooklyn Bridge

Gorgeous November sunset from the Brooklyn Bridge

The first time I lived in New York, back in the early ‘90s, a poll came out claiming that fifty percent of the city’s residents found living in the Big Apple “hellish,” while sixty percent said they’d move somewhere else if they could afford to. It seemed about right. There’s a push-pull, love-hate, yin-yang to the city that can pull on the heartstrings while it stabs you in the back. It’s why I loved living there, couldn’t wait to leave, missed it terribly after I was gone, and grumble with nostalgia whenever I return. No other place has this effect on me the way New York City does.

Which is not to say I don’t have a deep affection for the city. I do. And on a recent trip in early November, during some gorgeous Autumn weather, I got to share with Kim a few more of the small but meaningful places and things that makes my heart beat large for this place. Pints at the White Horse Tavern. A walk along the Brooklyn Bridge to enjoy an impossibly beautiful sunset, followed by pizza at Grimaldi’s (cash only, no reservations, papers plates – pure gloriousness). An afternoon at The Cloisters – probably my favorite escape in the city and one that I dearly miss living so close to. A late evening sidewalk dinner at a low-key Italian restaurant in the company of dear friend and photographer extraordinaire Bruce Colin.

These are the slices of New York I love to hold in one hand – folded in half, of course – and savor.

Picasso sculpture exhibit at MOMA

Picasso sculpture exhibit at MOMA

During the day while I was away, Kim spent time roaming The High Line, amazed at the ever-present cranes reaching across the skyline. One evening we slipped into the studio audience for a taping of The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. (That really loud woo-hoo! voice coming from the audience? Yup, me.) Of course, I had to make a pilgrimage to B&H Photo to get my photo gear envy on. Late in the week we took a trip out to Queens for a visit to the Noguchi Museum, something Kim had been agitating to do for years. And, in keeping with our nature, we made time for some fabulous dining, enjoying meals at Sushi Nakazawa and Eleven Madison Park. (Nakazawa still has that ridiculously infectious smile, remembering us from our visit to Shiro’s Sushi two years back.) On our final night in the city we took in the Picasso sculpture exhibit at MoMA, before settling into an amazing last meal at The Modern with another cherished friend whom, like Bruce, we first met on an adventure to Africa.

When I lived in New York there were times where I felt utterly alone and isolated, even amidst its millions of other inhabitants; something that should be surprising to exactly no one who’s ever lived there. Today, when I visit I find myself more and more looking not to embrace the city, but corners of it. Small eddies that provide moments of solitude and quiet contemplation. It’s a subtle difference between those two states of being – isolation versus solitude – but an important one. More importantly, it’s a welcome one.

(Click on a pic to embiggen and view the full gallery. You can also view these photos on our Flickr Photostream.)
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