I woke up and felt the melancholic dread of having to go home. There’s always something that hangs over the final day of any time spend anywhere else. We packed up the last of our things and said goodbye to our cute apartment.
We dropped our bags at a nearby hotel so we could explore unencumbered and walked back to 2nd Ave to a diner called The Remedy. It certainly was one. I ordered a Californian omelette with toast, potatoes and coffee. Jaz had pancakes with bacon.
We walked up the Bowery until we joined with 5th Ave and the New York Public Library. The library, like the rest of New York, is famous. You’ll know it from the Sex & The City movie of course. I was excited to have the chance to visit as we had noticed there was a J.D. Salinger exhibition on. For those not in the know, Salinger has been my favourite writer since I was a teenager. A lot of my fanciful notions towards New York can be laid at his feet. I had to visit.
We weren’t allowed to take bags, coats or phones into the exhibition as it was all privately owned but I can tell you what I saw.
The exhibition was in a small room with a number of Salinger’s personal affects and letters about the place. Everything I know about the man suggests he would have hated this. I read every slip of paper in the place. After some issues with a title being changed by The New Yorker, Salinger became obsessed with the detail and presentation of his own work and insisted on having the final say on anything. The idea of any of his process or his typewriter or his photos or indeed his eyeglasses being on display would probably make the man balk, but here we are. It wasn’t going to stop me scoffing it all with my greedy little eyes.
This was followed by an obligatory trip to the gift shop.
On our walk back I finally found the site where the legendary punk club, CBGB, had once stood. It’s now a fashion boutique but someone has kindly stamped the letters into the concrete outside just to make sure everyone knew they were in the right place.
The list that the pair of us had prepared ahead of our trip was heaving with suggestions and recommendations. There was no way we could have got through everything we wanted to. The last thing we were able to do was swing into Heaven’s Hot Bagel and spend $7.00 on a bagel with the works.
We sat in a park and tried to work out how we could ever go back to eating like normal people ever again.
We collected our bags and with a little effort I hailed a cab for our journey back.
New York has always been somewhere I wanted to visit. I was lucky to have Jaz with me to explore. The city is loaded with false memories from the music I’ve listened to, the books I’ve read and the films I’ve seen. There is no way to explain just how much the experience lived up to the hype. It’s a harsh place in some ways but has the biggest heart. Wherever I visit becomes my absolute favourite. For now, New York has my heart.