Words to live by: Carpe Diem
Currently listening: Control-Kendrick Lamar
Recommended book: Naked Lunch
I feel most inspired by people who: Break something to build something
Creativity means: Doing
The coolest place I’ve traveled on the job: Istanbul
You can always find in my suitcase: A flask
From where I’d rather be: The moon with a Mai Tai in hand
12am’s the new 12pm. Time is a rare commodity in NYC. It’s a precious thing, almost more important than any sized wad of Benjamins stuffed in any sized back pocket. In three short days spent between tight streets, tighter alleys, speeding cabs and nonstop nightlife, time quickly becomes everything. The watch hand rules everything around you. So you understand when I say there just wasn’t enough time to see Times Square.
It starts with wheels down in La Guardia. It ends with wheels up at JFK. And between plane landings and takeoffs was the ride of a lifetime that resumes with one step out of a big car–black, shiny and well-driven–and onto the urban chic sidewalk of 101 Charles St. in The West Village. She runs down the stairs smiling, arms wide for a big embrace. Simone. It’s been way too long. We head into the night.
Two bass drops and already two shots deep. Playing catch-up turns the evening into a sped up VCR. Busting through speakeasies. Drunken DJ requests. Gin, gin, gin. Stairs, stairs, stairs. High fives. Hand shakes. Laughter. The city has an energy that’s absolutely unshakeable. It doesn’t end. It can’t end. And then Boom.
6am and the sun’s rising. Sleep in this city is called shuteye–just enough time for the body and mind to decompress. 11am and we are back on the sidewalk, wandering in a daze and forgetting about breakfast. We see the shops, the bookstores and the hideaways. We grab the NYC coffee from Saturday’s. It’s strong. It’s overwhelming. It’s effects magnified with the view from the top of the Rockefeller as we walk up the final steps. Looking into the distance confirms the term concrete jungle–people become ants, cars become caterpillars, buildings as shrubs and trees. It’s an ecosystem that from far away is a thing of beauty-like the sporadic and cluttered paint drips of any Pollock proudly hanging from the walls of the MoMA. And just like that we are on the ground floor and exit back into the chaos.
“Stanton Social,” a Ford model and good friend had suggested to me before the trip. “You have to try the gimlet and French onion soup dumplings,” she noted with conviction. So we headed to 99 Stanton St. in the Lower East Side around 10pm. Most memorable dinners happen with a crescendo. But here everything hit a high note from the beginning. Food melted on the tongue. Drinks shocked the tonsils. Music from a talented DJ floated from the robust sound system and across the dimly lit lounge, finishing between excited conversation and toasting glasses.
Eggs with goat cheese and sausage, coffee with double espresso and sugar is what I found myself staring at 12 hours later. We’re at a quaint breakfast spot close to Simone’s West Village summer apartment. Now to cross town to meet friends atop an East Village rooftop. Believe it or not, beneath the tall skyscrapers has migrated a small group of Australians. Permanent residents now working in the field of finance. Crazy to leave beachside paradise, yet at the same time probably some of the sanest people living in this city. At 11am, the party was already starting off well.
Music comes from a boombox in the corner of the patio. “Ohhh play that dude Julio Bashmore! We’re about to see him!” someone shouts.
Try MoMA–its Queens extension PS1 with a spacious avante-garde rock garden. We head there, arriving first at a beer garden under perfect sunshine. Pitchers, steins and stories are passed around. The mood is glowing. We soon embark. And above a packed house of the city’s young and wild, Julio sets the tone of the evening. He smashes it. He bangs it. He never lets up. He takes the crowd and the night with him.
A trip to NYC can’t be summed up by photos or memories or even words. The city leaves you with a single feeling with multiple interpretations. It’s Brooklyn Heights. It’s the subway. It’s Central Park. It’s dogs on leashes. It’s that one Cuban place up some stairs and behind ten doors that I’ll never remember. It’s Momofuku’s Milk Bar. It’s bustling avenues. It’s the humidity. It’s the humility. It’s a million things more.
It’s three days visiting a city most spend a lifetime still understanding. It’s three days in a New York minute.