Cat Power – Manhattan
I was down in New York mid-week, a quick overnight trip, and I’m still thinking about it. Normally when I go into the city I stay at my sister’s in Brooklyn if I’m going out at night or, like last month, just meet up with friends in the day and head back home before it gets too late. This time my husband was coming with me to see a play and he’s allergic to my sister’s cat so we needed to find a hotel. It was my frustration with the hotel situation that prompted me to think of the LCD Soundsystem song earlier in the week but now, after being there for 24 hours, I’m in love all over again.
I left in 2000 because my job was awful. I had an abusive boss who yelled at us constantly, I was just scraping by, and at the end of the work day, I’d trudge through crowds of tourists outside our Times Square office, then take the subway for an hour to my apartment in Bay Ridge. I liked Bay Ridge fine but living that far out in Brooklyn meant I didn’t do as much in Manhattan as I would have liked.
This time we stayed in Manhattan. The play let out at 9:30 and then we went looking for dinner. After dinner we walked back to the hotel, and walking through Times Square wasn’t awful like it was when I was dodging people looking up while I was trying to get to the subway. It was a spectacle, tacky and flashy, but beautiful all the same. It was a warm summer night and it was perfect weather for being out. I absolutely love, love, love being outside at night in New York in the summer. I don’t even mind the smells.
It’s hard to imagine living there now, right now, with the kids at their ages and the impossible cost of living. We couldn’t afford it, plain and simple. But I miss living there, being immersed in it and having everything just outside your door.
I know lots of people who don’t like New York. It’s too loud or busy or overwhelming. It’s hard to explain exactly what it is that I love so much. There are problems, I’m not blind to them, but there is still this pulse that I haven’t felt in any of the other cities I’ve lived in. I see it in some of the scenes captured in this video.
I lived in New York in the 80s and you expressed perfectly what I still feel; I miss it, but couldn’t imagine being able to live there now with kids and the high cost of living. I always dream about someday being able to move back there with my husband when the kids are grown. And nighttime in Manhattan in summer is glorious. The smells of cat on a stick (as we used to call those weird streetside kebab things) and urine doesn’t lessen the magic of it all; you’re exactly right. I’d never heard this song, and I love it. I’m going to download it. It’d be the perfect thing coming through the earbuds during a stroll through the city.
I mentioned to my husband that I thought moving there once the kids are grown would be a great idea and he was…not sold. It’s the everything is always on aspect of it that I love and I’m not sure that’s his thing. Our youngest is not yet 9 though so I have plenty of time to work on it. 😉
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