Tag Archives: nyc

Find Your Beach

This is sheer brilliance from Zadie Smith.


NYC

Across the way from our apartment—on Houston, I guess—there’s a new wall ad. The site is forty feet high, twenty feet wide. It changes once or twice a year. Whatever’s on that wall is my view: I look at it more than the sky or the new World Trade Center, more than the water towers, the passing cabs. It has a subliminal effect. Last semester it was a spot for high-end vodka, and while I wrangled children into their snowsuits, chock-full of domestic resentment, I’d find myself dreaming of cold martinis.

Before that came an ad so high-end I couldn’t tell what it was for. There was no text—or none that I could see—and the visual was of a yellow firebird set upon a background of hellish red. It seemed a gnomic message, deliberately placed to drive a sleepless woman mad. Once, staring at it with a newborn in my arms, I saw another mother, in the tower opposite, holding her baby. It was 4 AM. We stood there at our respective windows, separated by a hundred feet of expensive New York air.

The tower I live in is university accommodation; so is the tower opposite. The idea occurred that it was quite likely that the woman at the window also wrote books for a living, and, like me, was not writing anything right now. Maybe she was considering antidepressants. Maybe she was already on them. It was hard to tell. Certainly she had no way of viewing the ad in question, not without opening her window, jumping, and turning as she fell. I was her view. I was the ad for what she already had.

But that was all some time ago. Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.

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This Is What It Feels Like

David V DartelIt’s been quite a bit of time since I last wrote on this thing, huh. What’s strange is that it is not for lack of things to say because, let’s be frank, anyone who has ever met me knows I’m never without words. If I’m being totally truthful, I can’t say I’ve been too busy – because I could’ve found time to write here and there. I will say, however, that I don’t think I wanted to hear or read what I would have written in those stolen moments.

Upon graduating nearly three months ago, my day-to-day has taken a complete one-eighty. Gone are the days when I trekked to and from Grand Central, the pages and pages of notes procured in dozens of lecture halls have been trashed, and the hard-earned, yet still imaginary, paystubs of interning have been bid adieu. Now, my Monday through Friday consists of working nine-to-six at a desk. My weekends are suddenly free game, my paychecks are suddenly gargantuan in comparison to what they once were (yet they seem to disappear just as quickly…), and if I stay awake past eleven pm, it’s considered a “late night.” What’s more is that my days feel like the crawl by but the weeks seem to race faster than light. I’ve blinked and my summer has all but disappeared, without so much as a good suntan to remember it by.

A Note of Thanks

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To my beloved LIRR,

I just wanted to take the time to write you a letter to say thank you.

Thank you!

Thank you for always keeping me on my toes, taking me to new places, and never providing me with a dull moment. Truly, it’s always an adventure when we spend time together – I never know what’s going to happen! I am so glad that I get to spend more time with you than my own family.

For instance, this morning. LOVED what you did this morning. Your website told me you’d be on time and, oh, guess what?! You made me thirty minutes late to work – for the third week in a row!  Thank you so much for that! I love sending my boss horribly apologetic emails about why, even though I leave a full hour and a half before I have to be in the office, I can’t seem to get to work on time. Racking up those “Worst Employee Ever” points as the resident “late girl” is exactly what I wanted merely two months into my new job.

New York – I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

New York as a whole has this ineffable way of making you hate it and love it at the same time. The city gives you these insane highs that make you remember why you came in the first place and then in a flash, you’ve been rained on and the concrete’s never felt colder. It’s weird to think a place could have so much power.

So, here’s to the beautiful city of New York – for always having the ability to make you stay even when all you want to do is leave.