If you could indulge me for a moment, I’m in prayer mode. Meditation is always so private. But I need to get these words out. Perhaps in my own selfish prayers, you may find a way to speak yours.
It’s a prayer about going back home.
So much has changed in New York since I moved away. Each time I go back, there is something adjusted or rearranged.The World Trade Center was finally built replacing that ominous space once occupied by two towers downtown. In other areas, strange pencil buildings have been erected, sticking out like strange toothpicks where billionaires can buy real estate in the sky. The High Line has become an urban garden of nature, artwork and modern architecture, cutting a contrast between greens, wood, texture and the colorful steel of expensive “soon to open” condo’s waiting for the millennial elite to move in.
More bike lanes and sitting space. More traffic. More everything and not enough of what counts. Homes. Affordable homes. For artists. For laborers. For white and blue collar. One can’t even afford to starve here.
Among the progress is a new element of regression: Sadly, the economy crash has its victims here. Homeless people are finding their way back on the street. And this time, they look like us. Some are sleeping on the outskirts of neighborhoods they may have lived in once. Evicted. Alone. Their entire apartment saved under tarp, their luggage and few boxes become their living space. I saw a young woman on the corner of Broadway and 84th street, tidying up her belongings after taking something out of a box. She was sniffing back tears. Mental Illness of personal demons may have lead her there, but I couldn’t help feel her fear.
The feelings come up now. My fear for her. The prayers of Oh my God. Please protect her. Please keep her in your hand. Please keep her and everyone in her position safe. I am so lucky for what I have, but for the grace of you, please keep her close.
That is all I can do.
Some of us are a paycheck away from where that young lady is now.
The line between wealthy and desolate seems to be fading. There is no middle class here it seems. There are only the poor, and those who are getting by on a reasonable wage – enough to pay that high rent, and the uber wealthy.
Los Angeles is becoming more of the same. Low wages and increasing rent. Plus, you need a car out here.
I look at the textures of street art on New York buildings. I marvel at the beautiful colors of fixtures in a store window, snapping iPhone pictures of romantic chandeliers against windows showing an iconic peek into New York’s neighborhood buildings. But I know the realities aren’t as beautiful.
In the year leading up to my move from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to Los Angeles back in 2010, I understood that there comes a time for some New Yorkers who fell in love with this city to move away to cleaner, roomier locations.We had our New York City moment. We ate at the local eateries and mulled over the most incredible Farmer’s Markets, danced at amazing clubs and knew the best restaurants. But, maybe it would be nice to see trees outside our windows and maybe have our own garage.
But, here I am – six years in sunny SoCal. With all the beautiful friends and gorgeous moments spent here and forever grateful for. Yet, I didn’t bargain on me wanting to come back to NYC. Just one more round of apartment living with a Basset Hound meant for outdoors, those icky nerves of moving into another old building and an apartment that smells like fresh paint and bug spray. Yes. One more time before I move back to the metropolitan suburbs – or the more reasonable neighborhoods of the Hamptons. (Sag Harbor…I will be your resident yet.)
So, New York City – I’m here, waiting for you to give me the word. I’m ready to come back and live in you once again – until the green grass of home beyond the Metro North Line calls us home.
I’m waiting with open heart and mind. Just say the word.
And keep me close. With abundance and positive light.
I hope the same for anyone reading this, who are in a murky state of transition. We are waiting. We are on the brink. We are waiting in suspension. Let us all get to where we want to be, financially well, creating, writing, painting, sculpting, helping others, well employed, building good things, tucked into a safe home in a neighborhood we love with loving people around us.
Let us all come home.