So here’s New York. Like a big boat. You get on, you get off, downtown, uptown, up, down, always at the speed of light. It’s like there’s no middle ground here. Far off are the grey skies of Paris. Here, it’s white or it’s black. It rains hard or it’s drenched in sun.
And I was walking down 8th Avenue, slowly, as if pressed down by the city. A sadness came and I couldn’t tell where it gripped me. I had a friendly blind date, a very local concept, the sort of slightly worrisome thing that I’ll usually cancel at the last minute, get cold feet.
This time though, I decided to go.
I get there. It’s terribly difficult to find. The place is hidden. Some name on a door, barely visible. A staircase, you get the impression you’re walking down to the depths of the city. Brrr.
Voilà, and that’s how I put my melancholy into a speakeasy, and how I met my new friend.
Fifteen minutes later, we’re dying of laughter and talking about a million things over cucumber cocktails and listening to jazz. We talked about fashion. We talked about dreams. We talked about travel and we talked a whole bunch about the person who told us to meet up. Friendly blind dates, not too shabby after all. I’ll have to try them out more often.
Everyone who lives in New York City says the same thing. It’s a harsh city, a city that can grab you, a city that’ll spit you out, a city that grips you, a city that’ll wear you down. Lots of people spent their first years here in tears.
But most of them just couldn’t leave. The energy is too insistent, the parties too crazy, the work too hard. And the dreams have no measure.
I wonder if the city will ever adopt me. I try to go about the city like you would with a child. I don’t ask her to love me. I don’t ask her to welcome me. I don’t ask her to be beautiful or to be soft. I try not to ask her anything at all. And when if and when the day comes, and the melody is right, she’ll come play with me.
Translation : Tim Padraic Sullivan