Six Weeks, Subway Poets and Yom Kippur

When I first agreed to leave New York and visit my grandparents for Yom Kippur, I honestly thought it would be nothing, I’d probably want to get out of the city after not leaving for six weeks anyway. But I was wrong.

The past six weeks feel like they’ve been six days and six months all at the same time. Not only do I love it and couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else, it also feels so much like home. Before I go into this, I want to be clear so no one at home (Orlando home) gets mad: just because I love (love love love) where I am and what I’m doing right now, doesn’t mean I don’t miss (my other) home. I miss the ‘hood, the park, the lake, driving my car, the beach, the constant sun/thunderstorms, Marble Slab and Jeremiah’s, and most of all, my family. That being said, I am absolutely in love with New York.

Last Friday, when I rushed to the W. 4th St. subway station with my suitcase and got all the way to JFK airport, I realized something very important about traveling while living in New York: if you can’t carry your bag down/up the stairs, you might as well leave it behind because people judge you and also you just look dumb dragging your bag behind you (I would know), plus your arm ends up feeling like it’s gonna fall off. Anyway, as I sat there, on the A train to Far Rockaway, with my suitcase pulled tight next to the seat I managed to snag, I noticed something. Sometimes when you notice something random in New York, it is suddenly way more beautiful than normal. As you get into Brooklyn and Queens on the subway, the stations get a little dirtier and the tracks get a little more bumpy, so the cars are constantly swaying back in forth. Not in a dangerous way or anything, just like driving down the old brick roads by my house (that I also miss). Anyway, I looked up from the music playing on my phone to see everyone swaying in unison. Normally, I’d probably think it was weird that it was something worth noticing, but I don’t know, New York makes something so simple seem charming and whimsical.

Also on this same, very long train ride, there was a little boy and his mom at the very end of the train. I was sitting about in the middle. I had my earphones in, listening to music, but I heard a vague loud speaking behind me. I didn’t look but I turned my music down to hear him. He was reciting poetry that he wrote. I can’t say it was the best poetry I’ve ever heard but it was endearing. The best part about this whole circumstance was that no one on the train was listening or barely even looking at him. Except for the little boy at the end of the train. I was facing him and the poet was behind me and it warmed my heart to see him so enthralled with something that everyone else pretty much flat out ignored.

Sometimes you look at New York and realize that you are just one of millions of people in this enormous city, but it’s times like seeing the little boy fascinated by the subway poet that you remember why you wanted to come here in the first place. You get so caught up in being a New Yorker, you forget to enjoy New York like a tourist: fascinated by the little things that as a New Yorker, you grow accustomed to and have this weirdly cool attitude like “oh yeah, that’s just the norm, whatever” but like actually, so many things that happen are actually so incredible. New Yorkers forget to give New York enough credit for making them want to be here in the first place.

Always,

Blake

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