Stale smelling steam billowing up from a man cover; the rumble and squeal of the cars on the subway tracks. Impatient drivers honking at bold pedestrians as they all try to crowd intersections at the same time. Smells, sounds, sights unlike any other town are found in New York. I screamed tourist with my big camera fumbling for my metro card and double checking directions with my smartphone app, then triple checking with my daughter everywhere we went. But I didn’t care. It was magical.
A town more famous than most if not all – New York City. History, economics, culture, power, fashion, music, film, stage. It has it all. So young when compared to Paris and London it could be called a prodigy. So much talent, triumph, and tragedy.
A trip of a lifetime. And for what we saw…it was.
The majesty of The Statue of Liberty and the World Trade Center Memorial. The excitement of Time Square and Broadway. The culture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Natural History Museum. The glitz of Tiffany & Co on 5th Ave and Park Ave. The tastes of Carmines, Grimaldi’s, Katz Deli and Cheslea Market. The history of Fraunces Tavern and St. Paul’s Chapel. The deals of Century 21 and Canal Street. The beauty of Central Park and The Highline. The romance of the Empire State building and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Harry would look at me on the subway and mouth, I love you and I would smile as the acapella group sang, or the mariachi band played for tips. He wrapped his arms around me after we rolled up our pant legs and jumped into the fountain at Washington Square Park. He kissed me in the limousine on the way back to the hotel from the broadway play.
Usually when I have high expectations, I’m disappointed. How do you harness that magic for yourself? You can’t create magic, you can’t will it…it just happens.
People move there thinking they will find it and leave sorely disappointed if not defeated. If it happens it happens. Like love. You can’t force it.
A trip of a lifetime and for what we felt…it was.
There were so many great moments. Harry presenting my daughter with a bracelet in a very special blue bag from a jewelry story on 5th avenue and seeing her smile is one of them. That was a surprise even to me. There were things no one would dare to write in fiction…jazz in a Japanese Speakeasy basement bar, and Sushi in a French restaurant. Only New York could get away with this and do it well.
But in my heart, I will remember and cherish my time alone with Harry. We were committed to showing my daughter a super good time and celebrating her graduation with her. So stealing away alone didn’t happen a lot. We sat at the bar at P.J. Clarks and talked about how much we loved each other listening to a jukebox one night. We stood in each other’s arms on the rooftop lounge of our hotel overlooking the upper Manhattan Skyline talking about where and when we would marry another night. And our last morning we awoke before dawn and decided to take a stroll in Central Park.
I remember many scenes from When Harry Met Sally. My Harry and I chased some of them down while we were in New York. We shook hands under the Washington Park Arch in Greenwich Village. Harry telling Sally it was interesting knowing her and she tell him to have a nice life. Neither of them knowing that one day in the distant future they would fall in love.
We ate at Katz Deli where the famous line “I’ll have what she’s having” was filmed…
And that final day we also saw the Loeb Boathouse where Sally’s girlfriends try to set her up on a date.
It was almost accidental that we were continually reminded of that movie while we were there. Almost. That movie has meaning for us so my Harry posed with me at each scene.
Even the famous sidewalk scene where Harry and Sally walked just outside central park next to Theodore Roosevelt park…he and I walked hand in hand while my daughter took our picture.
“Take one more!” I would say as I kissed him smiling. It was fun.
But this morning – our final morning in New York, we had no phones, no cameras, and it seemed as if there were no one else in New York but us.
I held his hand and we walked and kissed and reminisced. Through the mall, under bridges, next to the fountain, reading the plaques on the statues, hearing the crickets, watching men walk their dogs, and feeling the cool morning air. No street noise, no schedule, nothing to get to. We were in the moment. And that moment was perfection. It was ours.
It was our movie scene from New York. And it will replay in my head forever. Ending at Sarabeth’s on Madison Avenue for breakfast. It was all ours. Forever saved in our memories alone.
No matter what my expectations for anything else on this trip, I will remember him leaning over and whispering into my ear that it was a perfect ending. We weren’t trying. It just happened. No script. Just us.
No flash, no grand gestures, just us. And us is what Harry and I have always been about. Our friendship, our love, and the intimacy born from both is what makes us truly special and truly in love.
It is the magic so many people dream of and never experience in real life, they only see it play out in the movies.
A trip of a lifetime for sure…it was.