For the past several years, more often than not, my wife and I have taken advantage of the fact that a pretty good Dental Meeting, the self-aggrandized titled Greater New York Dental Meeting or GNYDM, is scheduled the week after Thanksgiving. We make our way to the city along with more than 20,000 dentists and staff. This year was no exception.
Also, as has become our custom, we got together with our niece and her friend for Sunday Brunch at a fascinating restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen called 44 ½ between 44th and 45th Streets on 10th Avenue. This is close to my niece’s apartment and she always provides us with a walking tour of her environs after our meal. She was telling us that she has now been in the city for 12 years working in the fashion industry. She took her degree in that field at Brooks College and later at Cal State University in Long Beach and we were more or less her surrogate parents during that time.
I was reminded of my sister, now deceased, who in her adolescence fell in love with NYC and practically wore out the grooves in Gordon Jenkin's musical vignette "Manhatten Tower". Eventually she finally settled in that other American unique city, San Francisco, but it brought to mind what attraction NYC has for its residents and those who seem to always return. I asked Sara. “Partly it comes from the fact that so much is always going on, and the people are so involved with life,” she said. “I have a friend who moved to Savannah, and she seems content, because Savannah is so different from here, but she couldn’t be happy in Chicago or San Francisco.” She didn’t add, nor could I, but it was an unsaid truth.
We ended up one night in an Upper East Side restaurant called Trattoria Dell’Arte and found ourselves seated directly in the middle in the traffic pattern for all the waiters, customers and the Maître d’, an energetic, interesting young man named Justin. Justin typifies the New Yorker. He lives in his city and accepted the challenge of his new position (he used to be day manager) because of the excitement and the challenge. As he guided and directed his enthusiasm was infectious.
For me the draw is for visits rather than to live there. I like the fact that you can walk so many ways, noticing the clustering of related stores. While I have heard horror stories of belligerence, and in fact have a couple of cabbie stories in my repertoire, I find most people exceptionally helpful and friendly. I find the restaurants unique and yet historically memorable and would not dream of a visit without a Pastrami half sandwich at The Stage. I love the history, including the Ellis Island stories of who could have been my ancestors.
I am counting the days until next Thanksgiving.
Do any of you have a love for NYC? Any have stories they would like to share?