Thursday, May 27, 2010

On Top of New York (Or, My brother moves outta da city, I kill 'em)

Today I am on top of the world for winning the ForeWord Reviews 2009 Book of the Year Award for Looking for Anita, but last weekend I was on top of New York. And it's no Chrysler Building or Empire State Building for sure. No Ma'ams and Sirs. This is the roof of my brother's building, on approximately the 40th floor. The penthouse takes up the top two floors and my brother lives on the 37th, so you get an idea of the spectacular view he wakes up to each day. No, wait. You can't really understand until you see this panorama series I took, which is what he sees out his window. That's right, baby. A three-direction view from the East River to downtown to the Hudson River.

East River View (looking across to Queens)

Downtown View
Hudson River View (looking across to New Jersey)

So you can see why I love my New York trips so much. I've always loved this city, its energy, its life, its history, its possibilities. But notice how I listed energy first.

My husband and I have very different ideas of the ideal vacation. His dream locale includes either a wild river ripe for rafting or a secluded beach with a tree-hung hammock begging his rest. My dream locale, on the other hand, looks something like this...

Greeley Square Park

That's right. Put me in a cafe or a park smack dab in the center of a bustling city - American or European - and I'm in heaven, more relaxed than you'll ever see me at home. My husband once noted that he and I get our rejuvenation from different sources. He said that since he’s an introvert, he gets his energy from calmness. Peaceful or natural places give him the energy he needs to recharge. I, in contrast, am an extrovert, which according to him means that lively or social environments provide me with the energy I need to recharge.

I don’t know how much water his theory holds, but I’ll buy some of it. Still, I think he’s missing something key here. I think it’s the anonymity of big cities that comforts me. I particularly love parks and gardens nestled amidst the hub-bub of chaos. The contrast soothes me. I can escape into the beauty of nature, knowing that at any moment I can walk back out into the everflow of the city and lose myself in the crowd.

Here's another example...

Madison Square Park

Just a stone's throw from Union Square. Can you believe it? My brother lives equidistance between this park and Greeley Square Park, which is why I tell him, "If you ever move out of Manhattan, I'm disowning you. You have no right to take away my apartment in the city. You hear me, baby brother?"

I've said my peace. And so far, he's obeying. I know I am one lucky girl to have a free apartment in Manhattan. And I know I am one even luckier lady to have my brother in my life. Of course, if he ever moves out to the Rocky Mountains, my husband will be the one singing his praises. For now, however, I love feeling on top of New York. On my next visit, I promise to post a tour of Central Park, the tranquil center that keeps the heart of New York beating.

So what say you? Energy or serenity…which feeds your soul?


  1. Okay, I just dreamed that I had to go down this HUGE roller slide (remember the ones with little metal rollers that propelled you forward) into the East River. I was terrified, like barrel-over-a-waterfall kind of scared. I eventually did it, holding on to the sides so I didn't go too fast, and hopped off the side at the end into mucky yucky water. Wondering where that came from?

  2. Tough choice...I guess I'm a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. I love vacations in cities -- NYC is my fave! But I'm soothed when I vacation on a mountainside or at the shore. I think I'm most recharged after a vacation in the wild. After a stint in the city, I usually need a couple days to recuperate.

    I'm still doing the happy dance for you winning that award!!

    My sister living in Manhattan, just a couple blocks off Time Square. Her apartment was on the 48th floor, and I felt tingling fear standing outside on her balcony. The view was breathtaking, but the sensation that I'd somehow accidentally flip over the railing and plummet to my death was overwhelming. And I don't usually have phobias of any kind. It was cool!

  3. OMG I completely understand!!
    My sister lived in NYC for a couple years and I used to love visiting her. She lived in the financial district, on Wall Street actually, and the energy of the city was simply amazing. I was selfishly sad when she moved away.

    CONGRATS on the award!!!

    (and as for the introvert/extrovert thing, my best friend split from her fiance years ago and they had went to counseling before the fateful decision. the counselor actually told them that the way to identify introverts and extroverts is how they recharge. extroverts need to be around people to feel refreshed, whereas introverts need quiet time to themselves to rejuvenate)

  4. I just love NYC. I haven't been since last spring, and am so due for a trip. I think a combination of energy and serenity works for me. Love the city, but also love the sea. Which in a serene way, is so very alive with energy also.

  5. Nicole~ My brother is 1 1/2 miles due south of Times Square. Great neighborhood, isn't it?

    Megan~ My husband will be thrilled to know his theory holds water. I am such an extrovert then.

    Joanne~ Beautiful observation about the sea. Probably explains why I can also recharge while staring out across the ocean.

  6. First of all--New Follower! *waves*

    I really don't know why I haven't found your blog before this--feels like a major #ShannonFail--but I've found you now! (Dun dun dunnnnnn)

    And wow--I've only been to New York once--when I was 11, and we were only there for a day--so I am DYING to go back. I just keep waiting until I have a publisher, so I can take a picture outside.

    But I'm with you, I prefer cities. My favorite vacation is Europe--especially Paris and London. I love the energy of a city, and I love people watching.

    Thanks for sharing! I love connecting with other writers, so I look forward to getting to know you better through your posts! ;)

  7. Those are gorgeous views but I like living in the suburbs. Enough countryside to be pretty but in walking distance of shops!

  8. If I had to choose one I would go with serenity.
    I'd also have to go with your hubby on the ideal holiday.

    Having said that I love cities too, especially overseas. I was so sad that I didn't get to London last time I was in the UK.

  9. Oh, how fun!! I like both kinds of vacations. Sometimes I want to sit on a beach and veg and sometimes I want to go and see stuff--especially in cities like NY, Boston, and Chicago.

  10. Shannon~ 3 cheers for London. I saw it in cold, rainy late October weather and STILL loved it!

    Al~ Must. See. London. (see comment to Shannon above)

    Jennifer~ Boston is another one of those fantastic cities where even drizzly 40-degree temps didn't slow me down.

  11. Holy cow. You're on fire. That is awesome news about your award. Congrats!