First Trip Back.

My first trip back to New York was surreal, to say the least.  I felt like Alice, from Alice in Wonderland… In my mind I had been gone for so long, but upon my return, it was almost as though I had never left.

I felt my first pangs of regret within the first few hours of my trip.  Landing in New York felt strange.  I almost felt like a guest in my own home.  For the first time, in a long time, New York was the first leg of my trip, as opposed to my last.

Ladies & gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign.  We have now begun our initial descent into New York LaGuardia Airport.  Please put your tray tables up and your seat backs forward…

I watched as the rows of passengers in front of me eagerly gazed out their windows at the vast city below.  A city that was once mine.  A city of opportunity to so many.  I felt my throat close up… You could tell who was coming and who was going.  The home team and the visitors.  I didn’t see the skyline below, nor did the young boy in the Mets t-shirt, or the man sitting next to him in the Rolex, who I assumed to be the boy’s father.  I guess we were the home team. Too consumed, too busy to stop for even a minute to enjoy the beautiful view below us.

New York is a powerful city that will consume you, whether you love it or hate it.  Sometimes it consumes you with love–other times, with utter hate.  Seeing a familiar face at the airport consumed me with love.  Driving over the Triborough Bridge, zero traffic, staring at the Manhattan skyline consumed me with love.  Dropping my suitcase off at Mike’s apartment to then walk the 28 blocks to Shake Shack, hand-in-hand, consumed me with love.

And then just as I was saying how much I missed New York–how much I missed this peaceful neighborhood–how much I missed this very walk we used to take each month (sometimes more)–we pass a homeless man with his pants down.  True story.

Oh, New York… always so full of surprises.

Despite the, uh, episode on our walk, despite the fact that my fries were too crispy, despite the fact that a torrential downpour canceled our boat cruise on Saturday afternoon and despite the rude waitress and my subpar meal at Crispo, the time spent with the people who matter most to me is what was so memorable and so special about my first trip back.  That feeling is irreplaceable.

I so miss having these on every other street corner.

Only in New York would this scene appear completely normal.

The ultimate lunch break view in NYC.

No way we were going to let a thunderstorm rain on our parade!

One day prior, on May 10, 2013,

One World Trade Center was officially named the tallest building in the United States.

I just now noticed this table of strangers smiling behind us. Pretty hilarious.

Hands down the best meal of the weekend, at Luzzo’s.

Rounded out the weekend with a day trip out to Long Island to celebrate Mom.

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