It was like deja vu. An encyclopedia of this place had already been penned into my head. Despite never actually having been to this city, all of the movies, songs and stories had me believing that I already knew this place. Its neighborhoods. Its culinary musts. Its residents. Its sounds.
Three days before Christmas and many, many days longing after its charm, this city and I finally met. For real.
We wandered through parks. We looked up at the buildings and they looked over us. We chased squirrels and watched people ice skating through the trees. We listened to buskers and bought soft salty pretzels.
We found strange, beautiful objects on the ground. We stood by the pond and watched the ducks stand on the ice.
We went on long walks, miles from our apartment. We ate hot dogs from hot dog stands and sat outside a patisserie. We were cold and cheerful. We found streets with brownstones that were being covered with steam from chimneys coming up from underground. We wandered past museums and watched a homeless man write a haiku in the street.
We found Christmas markets and stood under the twinkling lights. We drank hot cider. When our feet hurt and we felt tired, afternoon naps helped.
We took the subway downtown. We explored Nolita in the dark, sometimes finding alley ways and cobble stones.
We caught our first yellow taxi.
We slept on the Upper West Side alongside a view that disappeared into the night.
We dreamt of being in New York.