Day 21: New York morning

It’s been so long since I’ve woken up in New York on a weekend. Out here in the suburbs, the weekends feel like a time to run errands and relax. But in New York, the weekends feel like a celebration. It’s as if the entire city says, “Yes, we made it through another week in this difficult place we call home.” It seems virtually everyone sleeps in, which means early mornings are quiet in the same way Disneyland is quiet before it opens.

Out here, weekends are for going to Target or getting groceries or maybe going to the park. In New York, weekends were for seeing people, for exploring places, for working on that project with friends that you always wanted to do. Nothing feel ridiculous. Everything feels possible.

New York feels fresh on weekend mornings, almost as if a custodian went through the streets and made it smell good. The breakfast carts aren’t out, and the chicken and rice trucks are hidden away after a late night of serving inebriated people who want to taste the most beautiful food in the world.

The city is magical in the same way Disneyland is magical. Except the stories are real and the admission is exorbitant rent. So a weekend morning in New York is the adult equivalent going into Disney World and seeing Princess Jasmine and Mickey Mouse at the gat.

I’ve thought a lot about what I would do if I ever move back to New York. And a lot of it has to do with Saturday morning. I would wake up and go to breakfast at Veselka, or maybe Cafe Mogador. Then I would go to a park and sit around for a bit, until it was time to meet friends for a nice early drink at a sports bar where they’re showing a college football game. Maybe in Murray Hill. Maybe in Greenwich Village. Then I’d go home and eat a big lunch, which would help me doze off into a wonderful kid-like slumber that only a morning like that could provide. I would walk by thousands of people. I wouldn’t get lost in my own head.

I want that so badly, but only after being here. Only after waking up and not wanting to get out of bed. Only after waking up and not feeling any excitement to start a day that should belong to me. I’ve found morsels of that here, but I want it all. I can smell the city right now. I can feel the crisp air on the East River as jogger try to beat the oncoming heat wave and children run around on the play set. I hear those kids, laughing and yelling, and I hear the crescendo of traffic in the background, creating the backdrop for a place I still think of as home — but a place that is, day after day, becoming less a place that I deserve to call home.

It’s these weekend mornings that really get to me. They really get to me.

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