For the first couple of days I was in a fog. It was a combination of reverse culture shock, driving for 12 hours straight from SC to NYC and not getting enough sleep. Also, the people. Everywhere. I left my laptop at the outdoor bar/cafe in Bryant Park and sprinted 2.5 42nd Street blocks back in heels to (thankfully!) retrieve it. I smiled at people on the street or on the subway who caught my eye. One woman smiled back. I got on the express train when I should have hopped the local.
But by the weekend after my first business week here, I was thankfully able to wake up late, cruise over to Ciao for Now and grab cawfee and a snack, take Monkey for a leisurely stroll to the dog park, then shower and hit the streets by myself for the day with the goal of reclaiming NYC. It worked, and the best part about it is that I even got a key to the city!
The Key to the City is a public art project running through the summer. I waited in line at a kiosk in Times Square to run through a "ceremony" during which I "bestowed" a key to the city to someone and he did the same for me.
I haven't visited any of the spots to which the key grants access (there are locked places in all five boroughs -- a smart way to promote intra-city tourism, no?), but the act of obtaining a key during my first weekend back to my home town was symbolic. The small act of picking up the key was precisely the type of homecoming I needed.
Oh and by the way, it all went down in typical NY fashion. I was paired up with a woman who was an usher for Broadway shows and we waited in line together for 45 minutes (a painful 45 minutes in direct sunlight after staying out the night before until 2 am during which time our chit chat involved her wanting to know if doing digital marketing meant I worked with Facebook because she had a bone to pick with "them") to get our keys. Once we received our keys and were informed that we had just five more minutes of waiting time to get to the ceremony element, usher decided to ditch me. Her argument was that she had to go back home to Staten Island to have dinner after which she needed to get back to Times Square for her show to let out. She had some words for the people working the project and then left in a huff. Thankfully someone who works for the creative agency managing the project stepped in so I could officially get my key.