I kept calling mi Amor, telling him to pack his bags:
"I love this city, and this city loves me. We're moving here," I told him.
He told me to enjoy my trip and that we're not moving to New York. Not ever.
I love everything about New York City; I'm urban to my core. I love how each New York City block spills-out new smells, new people, and endless potential to become whatever you want to become.
The becoming whatever you want part isn't easy, I realize. I know because we talked to a girl on the subway (I even like the subway), and she said that she has five jobs:
"Today, I'm a babysitter. Tomorrow, I'll be a make-up artist. I really want to be on Broadway; I've done a few small traveling shows but nothing in New York."
"It's political, I bet, getting a part in a big Broadway production," I said.
"So political. I know the man who plays the lead in Mary Poppins. Actually, I don't really know him. He's a friend of one of my friend's friend," she said.
"It's all in who you know." I said back. She agreed with me, still holding on to the potential outcome of her upcoming audition and then headed off to her babysitting job, somewhere in Times Square.
We shopped up and down 5th Avenue and ate at Katz Deli, The Burger Joint, Serendipity, Magnolia Bakery, and John's Pizza. We stood on the Empire State building's observation deck and stared as far north as the Bronx and as far south as the Statue of Liberty. I noticed that some of the building's visitors left behind little forget-me-not notes: "Steve and Donna were here." I wanted to write: NYC+me=TLA, except I forgot to bring my black sharpie.
We headed to Bryant Park and breezed through the fabric district. Mood Fabrics, Mokuba, and Shindo are some of the best fabric and trim stores on earth. The bright colors and rhinestoned buttons made me want to give Jean Kate designs an overhaul.
We got off the green line at Bleecker St. and walked through beautiful Greenwich Village. I would give my first born to live there (not really). I loved watching the NYU students, backpacks brimming with textbooks, their eyes focused on bright futures. It made excited to go back to school.
Then we traveled south to see the Statue of Liberty. While on the ferry ride, my homegurl talked to the 5th graders from Brooklyn's P.S. 241. The kids were witty and observant. One girl in particular, Khady, was drawn to my homegurl. They exchanged numbers, promising to be friends forever. Another girl from the class, Adriana, couldn't believe Khady was talkin' to that "White girl." Another boy warned my homegurl against getting pregnant before college. I thought that was good, sound advice and was grateful for his candor. The entire exchange made me want to move to NYC even more. I desperately want my homies to grow-up like I did, surrounded by cultural diversity.
Toward the end of the trip, I began to miss the things that normally fill my everyday schedule: talks with my kids before bed, kisses from my littlest boy, listening to music in the car, cooking, watching TV with mi Amor, and family prayer. While glancing up at the humongous Target ad, in the middle of Times Square, I realized: when you go away to visit the extraordinary, your heart grows fonder of the ordinary. I was ready to return to my Suburbia: the place where all of my dreams are unfurling.
P.S.--When I got home, I found this waiting for me. I can make at least 3 shakers out of it.
P.P.S.--The girl sitting next to me, on our flight home, told me that 69th St. on the Upper West Side is a cement oasis for families. "That sounds perfect," I said, making a mental note. I'll want to be prepared, just in case...