first walk

the first time i flew out to new york from alaska, i had to go to michigan for a family vacation. i hadn't yet stepped foot in manhattan. but on our drive to michigan, big miles pointed it out over the tappan zee - or maybe it was the george washington. "we are actually in manhattan right now" or something like that. i pressed my face against the window! wow! but i can't see any skyscrapers! we must be at the top of the island - where the columbia university kids practice rowing.

i knew manhattan before i got there. in high school, the map from national geographic hung at the head of my bed - so i could study it before going to sleep.
broadway is the street that runs diagonal
st. vincents is here.
the village starts here.
tribeca is where jfk jr. lives.
park ave. is untouchable.
the met is in central park.

after getting back from michigan, i had to work a week. all week in rye, i planned my trip to the city. i woke up at the crack of dawn. i was SO EXCITED. big miles seemed so proud! he was shocked by how excited i was. he was like BE CAREFUL. BE CAREFUL. BE CAREFUL. and then he waited in the car they called "the jimmy", until i got on the train. i bought an outfit for the trip - i still remember what i wore! it was HUMID i had never experienced weather like that. i wore a simple loose fitting button down - paisley orange. i must have looked like a tourist. i didn't want to look like a tourist. i never want to look that way when i travel. that first trip was spent walking miles. i walked from 42 to the tip. from the tip to columbus circle. from columbus circle to grand central. my body ached. my mind was spent. it was so overwhelming, that i wasn't sure if i hated or loved manhattan. i bought all new city clothes on that trip. new city shoes. i think i might even have that map - the penciled lines of my first trip to manhattan.

i write about this, because it was 11 years ago. a decade has changed me DRASTICALLY. i've seen the country, i've seen parts of the world. i've met every kind of person out there. i remember seeing my first hassidic jew. and then i was with my little brother when he saw his first too. whats funny is that we both had the same reaction. we were like WHOAAAAAAAAAAAA! WHAT WAS THAT?

that first trip to manhattan was followed by every weekend spent in manhattan. i spent my money on broadway tickets. there was a time i could pick up billboard, and say i had seen over half the shows. i saw savion glover every fall. i rode the madison ave. bus on sundays. the met was my church. at the moma, i stood in front of john currin stunned. i copped a feel on a picasso. i just HAD to touch the same paint he touched. i learned the subways, i ate the food. i spent saturdays in the village. i remember when i discovered soho - i was AMAZED. brick streets! everyone is in black! galleries! (there were galleries there back then - not shops). i would come home at night and report my findings "why does everyone wear black? they call themselves artists, and yet they all wear the same thing?"

2 months later i went through a "black phase" i vowed to only buy black of everything. it made sense at that point. i wanted to look urban. and then i did. and then my change morphed into other things. the food - the expanding of the palette. i ate jewish food, pizza, italian food - sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, greek food - olive paste. dean & deluca kept me entertained for about 2 hours one time. the scene in that store on broadway & spring was incredible to me. i discovered things like woody allen and warhol. i spend the weeknights renting all woody allen videos. within 2 weeks i had watched every movie he made. a few times over. then, seeing my first woody allen movie in the theatre. it was the one with danny - broadway? no - something i can't remember the title. the theatre was only manhattanites. the village. older scene. the guy next too me knew the grip. the woman in the other isle clapped because her neighbor was in teh movie. the discussions after the movie! were just like standing in line during annie hall. they clapped after the movie. they laughed out loud!

that fall, after my summer of exploring manhattan, i had more knowledge of the island than most of my new friends at school. they would ask me(!) where such and such was. they would ask me what was going on, etc. i was stunned that they didn't know anything, most of them having lived there for their entire lives. i remember attending my first party - i was in an artists room, and he had a picture of basquiat. i jumped up adn down "you know basquiat!?" and all the kids kind of scoffed. they thought i was funny. during that time, i only wore keith haring t-shirts. on saturdays i would go down to the pop shop and buy the coolest one, and wear it that week. i had just finished reading his diary, and then warhols diary. i read warhols diary on a trip to nantucket. i read k.haring late nights.

that first fall also brought concerts. every band or singer i had ever dreamed of seeing, was having a show. they all seemed to be on a thursday at the bowery or the beacon. i bought tickets to everything. i wasn't paying rent - i was living with the rye family, so i had the money to go to all of these shows. seeing bjork, a rager kid walked up to me and told me he couldn't stop staring at me. i had never heard that before. the whole show i was stunned. seeing pj harvey for the first time- the crowd! the pj harvey crowd shocked me. i looked up - i felt so short? at these hip people. the men wore black rimmed glasses. the women were in all black. and then the music started. the room began to vibrate. going to these concerts set me apart from the college kids. they were attending their little garage band concerts - but i had catching up to do. i was seeing all the bigger names in teh city. until years later i had seen everyone i wanted, so i joined them at the garage shows.

i recently watched the movie 'peresopolis'. in that movie (which i highly recommend), the girl gets in touch with her inner rock star. she starts wearing rock t-shirts. her parents just smile. i related. during this time, my fashion evolved from black - as my staple - to k. haring t-shirts and rock t-shirts. i remember mona and i sitting at the ktichen table. i'm there wearing a black pj-harvey t-shirt with her half naked body splayed about "anise. what is that shirt? is that some kind of band?" and i remember (like a teenager) thinking "if people don't understand pj harvey, then they know nothing. i feel sorry for these people."

wow. in a way, writing about this has really put me in touch with my little brother. he must feel the same way about san francisco and the drug culture, and sex and vegans, and hippies, and anti war... as i felt about allen, warhol, haring, purchase, harvey.

i get it now. i'm going to give him a call.