Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Living Among Giants

Even as a little kid, New York City had a grip on me. It wasn’t like the suburbs or anywhere else that I was allowed to spend time. The train ride into the city, or the drive when you first saw the top of the Empire State Building off in the distance. It was just magical. It was a place of giants.

From the time I was very small, I would get an adrenaline rush at the very idea of being in this city. My Father was always the one to bring me here and it was his love of this city that not only fueled my own, but thrilled me to no end. It was as if he wanted to make sure I could experience some of the sights and sounds and go home carrying memories embedded into my very being.

He succeeded.

I thrilled at the times when Dad had to come to work on Saturdays. It was always for just a couple hours but I loved to go with him. I would bring some books and other items to keep myself busy and we would go into his office building down on Water Street, right beside the South Street Seaport.

When we got there, Dad would go to his desk and before he started working would give me a dictation mini-tape recorder. There was nothing cooler, circa the early 80’s you could give a kid to play with. Well, there was one thing.

The entire floor of an office building.

There would be no one there but my Dad and I and I would run laps around it. Peer from every window. Tape record my footsteps. I would look at what was on peoples desks and maybe borrow a pen if I needed it.

To a small child, the floor of an office building is just about the ultimate playground. I would attempt to use the phone or sit in important peoples desks and pretend that I worked with my Dad. Then, as now, I can imagine anything cooler than working with him.

I can still remember standing and leaning against a window, gummy bears (which were new to the US) in one hand, and peering countless floors below me at the tiny people and cabs and cars. Wondering what they are all doing and how important and happy I was to be way up in a building, higher than I had been outside of a plane.

When Dad would finish his work we would go to the South Street Seaport which was still home of the Fulton Fish Market back then. It would smell a bit, but then you would burst through the dead fish scent barrier to a wondrous outdoor mall area. It was full of people and food and activity and my favorite at the time, street performers. If my Father would have let me I would have watched them forever.

In the past 28 years of my life I’ve only spent 5 of them not living near or in this city. I’ve lived in NYC for 10 years now and love this city like I could no other. It is a city that can still instill in a 36 year old man the thrills and emotions that excited him as a little child.


M.Pants said...

I have a friend who when he was a little kid would drive into the city with his folks over the 59th street bridge, and he used to think that Roosevelt Island was a miniature Manhattan for little people.

1000 words said...

This was such an awesome post, there are times i get so annoyed living here, the noie, the people, the people, the people, but as I read your post it made me smile as I remembered the times my Dad brought me here a a kid. I loved it so much that I never had any doubts that I would someday live here. NYC I can't quit you.