I hear more about the "new" New Orleans these days (sadly, you can believe some of the hype, and not for the right reasons) than any "new" NY, but one need only satisfy one's Law & Order addiction - as I'm doing as a side project to my PhD - to see how much NYC has changed over the years. Of course, Weboy has documented it well here, and, in keeping with the spirit of writing about not too much this week, this post is not a wonkish treatise about urban development and politics. (I know, I know, you miss my lecturing ways. Prof. Redstar will be back mid-January, after I shop my screenplay in L.A. But I digress...)
Instead, I'm extemporizing here about my upcoming visit to NYC, which involves four nights of visiting friends in the outer boroughs. And I'm not talking about the hipsterati in Brooklyn. Nope, instead, with thirtysomething boyfriend in tow, I will be staying with friends and their families (collectively, three children under the age of five) in the Bronx and Queens. Saturday night involves a trip downtown for a joint ABD status/birthday dinner with my best girlfriend from college and her husband. And New Year's Eve is still shaping up, but the likelihood of me blindly finding my way into a cab between 2 and 4 a.m. is about as high as one of the "lesser-known [presidential] candidates" debating on C-Span right now actually winning the election (someone take the remote away from the M.A.S.).
Sure, I still have friends who live in Manhattan, and I'm still uncool enough that most of them live uptown (the married ones anyway...and I've never been cool enough to have less than a handful of friends living in Brooklyn), but really my NYC reality now is visiting my 22 year old cousin as she fashions her own version of my quarterlife adventures in the city. Most of these friends are also out of town right now, on vacation with their young families, on mini-breaks with new flames, and just generally living their lives in the ways we know now, which mean that our paths cross less and less frequently, and generally only for special occasions such as reunions, weddings, etc. My world is shrinking, and shifting.
This post is not rueful, even if it is nostalgic. This man of mine has a growing Flickr collection of us posed in front of extended family Christmas trees and dinner tables, at far-flung weddings, and in various leisurely settings. Apparently, this is now my life. And I'm wiser, and happier and fatter for it. But what a kick, commuting from Boston's own periphery of Brighton to the 'hoods of Riverdale and Jackson Heights. Places - mainly the latter - I'd consider living if I ever came back to NY. A hope I still keep alive, even as I relax behind the wheel of my stepmom's hand-me-down Pontiac, commuting between Newton and Quincy and Hanover and Connecticut in my own (re)new(ed) life in Red Sox Nation. Who knew.
Special thanks to Weboy, an enduring presence no matter where we roam, for the privilege of posting here these last few days. I know I didn't live up to his usual hard-hitting journalism. But he did get me writing, a least a little bit, every day, and hopefully you all enjoyed - or tolerated - my random musings. I wish you all A Very Happy New Year - Be Safe and Have Fun!
More or less cross-posted at The Redstar Perspective.