I have to start by explaining my love/hate relationship with this beautiful city of New York before I review this book. My mom told me if I pass a certain exam in High school she is taking me on a trip to New York to go shopping. I studied like there is no tomorrow because c’moooon. New York!!!! Of course I passed and we were on the plane with my best friend Veronika and her parents to discover New York. It was just for one week that I was able to enjoy the craziness of “the city that never sleeps” and we did it all – walking the entire day, Broadway, Musical, Times Square you name it. On the way back to the airport I was crying. On the plane I told my mom: “Mom, I swear to you, I will be back!” She just replied: “Yeah yeah…. let’s see!”
Eight years later I was back. Just 23 years old and on my journey to discover the good and bad of the U.S. and of course especially New York. I have watched all episodes of “Sex and the City” and all the re-runs and I believed this is all true. Like Carry writing her column for this newspaper and can afford her apartment on the upper east side. I know now that this is just not happening – you live and learn, simple as that! I was young and discovered everything and it was all good.
I moved from New Jersey back to Manhattan, just across from the United Nations and it was the best. I walked to all the museums, all the musicals, Times Square, Central Park – I discovered everything over and over again.
Then I left New York. First I moved to Connecticut and then to Germany for a while. And this is when I started missing New York. Saying Goodbye to all that…. but missing it so much. I am back in the States now and visited my godmother yesterday and spent a lot of time in New York and I loved it. All the memories, everything came back at once while walking downtown on Park Avenue. While in Germany I read this book “Goodbye to all that by “ Sari Botton and many other Contributors. It was just exactly what I needed when I missed NY the most. Many of the authors in this book (all short stories) left New York mostly out of bittersweet reasons – rent prices, that it just not all glitz and glamour, and that the American Dream usually means working 2-3 jobs to get by. The essays range from good to great and once you start reading the book – especially if you have left this crazy city of Manhattan you will try to think of ways to maybe come back and do it all over again.
As I type all this here this is what I thought when I read this book. I have to go back and I have to write my own New York story at some point. How I experienced it, the smell, the air, the colors, the people, the craziness and insanity and this feeling that I just cannot let go of it all. While reading this book I felt I was part of it again even though far away. And I heard myself saying that I have to do something about what the authors said to let them know that this is either exactly as they have written or how I experienced it differently because I have been to exactly the same places.
While I lived in Manhattan I made New York my life. I was rushing around, heading from A to B grabbing a coffee on the go, no time to even enjoy it while I burnt my mouth drinking it. Usually I ran to school with this cup of Jo in my hand- all the way to the upper west side. 🙂
New York City is crazy. To hear stories form anyone who knew this city from birth through all the stages, incarnations and changes is just amazing. The strip clubs on 42nd street that are now showing “The Lion King” and from a city that was close to being bankrupt at some point to this dizzying growth in personal and of course corporate growth and wealth – all these changes you see and can still somewhat imagine at points while you walk by the homeless person begging for some money for a meal. Struggling artists, actors, some who made it some who did not – same for writers. Everything is possible here anytime, anytime which is so great and so scary at the same time.
I read these insightful and somewhat wonderful and affecting essays and it was an enjoyable reading experience. You love this city? You miss this city? You want to visit this city? Read this book.
Yesterday I have been to my favorite book store. Yes, STRAND bookstore in NYC.
I found these two books. Book reviews will follow very soon. 🙂