Firstly, yes, the title of this is a quote from Sex & The City. Yes, I did it. Get your groans and your eye rolls out of the way, judge me here all you want and then read on free of prejudice. For the record, I only used it because it’s very, very true.
Everyone has places that mean something to them. It might be a significant, life changing event, a first kiss, a break up, an engagement. Or maybe just a memory of commonplace activities, an afternoon with friends, bumping into a college buddy, having a particularly lovely day by yourself.
In New York, you get to own very few things. It’s doubtful you’ll own an apartment. Even the one you rent is unlikely to be just yours – you’ll share it with roommates. Most of us don’t own cars. We take the subway . We share our transportation with everyone else who has somewhere to go, someone to see, something to do. Even the things we do own are restricted to what actually fits in our small, rented apartments.
The same holds true of emotional ties. Anywhere in this city that means something to you also means something to someone else. Any experience you’ve had here, someone has had before you. The bench in Bowling Green park where you kissed someone? Someone else was kissed there before you. The platform at the Metropolitan/Grand stop, waiting for the G, when he asked if you were seeing anyone? Someone’s been asked that before in that very station. The promenade in Brooklyn Heights where you argued in the throes of winter, tears freezing as they fell down your cheeks? Someone else has done that, too.
This city is layers upon layers of flitting memories, buried stories, all but lost lifetimes. It’s love and anger and friendship and triumph and devastation and chance encounters. It’s a tangled ball of strings with ends that all tie back to someone, somewhere.
I will always walk down Wooster and remember eating YoGo with you, sitting on the steps of some gallery I don’t know the name of. I can still see us laughing there when I go by. We’re ghosts but we’re as vivid and clear as the day we were when it happened. As many years as I call this city home, I’ll always see you smiling back at me from those steps. I hear your voice echo when I ride down Clinton, passing through the Heights. I see us standing at the corner of the Prospect Park waiting for someone, sitting under the Brooklyn Bridge having lunch together, sitting in that coffee shop in the LES on Thanksgiving day, face to face, typing away. I see myself sitting in Cadmen Plaza alone, watching a soccer game in the autumn chill. I have moved along, but an idea of me still sits on that bench. It watches me as I pass by.
But someone else out there passes down Wooster and sees something else, something that means nothing to me but matters so much to them. Their ghost is there too. I don’t see it, but it’s there. Our memories sit side by side. They may as well be holding hands. Those steps are so full of moments and laughter and conversations and emotions that it’s amazing there is room for more at all. But somehow there is. Our ghosts politely make room for another and another. They welcome more moments that matter to join them, to claim a piece of this city somehow.
That’s the beautiful, haunting quality of New York. Like most beautiful things, you can’t truly own it. You get to be a piece of it, one of many, partaking. You have to share it. Ghosts of the past roam the streets with us, unnoticed by all save the person that ghost belongs to. People come and go. You will come and go. Other people will come and go. New York will continue on and on. Life will happen here. Relationships will begin, friendships will end, bad news will be told, important questions posed on the corner of whatever and whatever, the platform of this or that line, the bench in so & so park.
You can’t own it. But you can be part of it, a piece of it. And that might be even better.
read more like this at Loxodromy.com
Sunny is an amazing copywriter at Carrot. This post is beautiful, and perfect.
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