Dear New York…
Dear New York,
I don’t know where to begin. I came here needing distance, perspective and inspiration (as I’ve mentioned in the previous post). That’s what I told myself.
How unfair it must be to have so many people project so many expectations on you. Folks trickle into this town every day grasping for opportunities or running from failures. They turn to you for answers, or ways to manifest whatever delusions of grandeur they may have. They come to heal after the first real heartbreak. They come searching for an easier way to feed their families back in the Old Country. They come hoping this time will be different.
Regardless of the expectations—and whether they are met—you are magic.
This trip turned out to be one of the most beneficial decisions I’ve ever made in my life, despite—or maybe because of—the mid-twenties clusterfuck I find myself navigating through. This here, it’s a love letter and thank you note, to the city as well as particular people who’ve made this experience worthwhile.
Thank you, Aida, for your amazing patience and hospitality. You took me in for a hell of a long stay without ever asking anything in return. I still owe you a million more dinners and then some. Regardless of where you and I end up in this world, I will always celebrate future Egyptian Revolutions with you (hopefully a Palestinian one, too)—and I’ll try to do so as creatively as possible.
Thank you, Mike, for taking me on at the Bronx Documentary Center—and for trusting me to help organize the Claremont screening. All of that work paid off as soon as the seats began filling, the laughter floating from the crowd, the kids happily munching on their popcorn at an event I hope happens more often in their neighborhood. Because they deserve it. Thank you for reminding me that good things are being done by good people.
Thank you, Jamie, for keeping in mind a lost grad student dropping into a town without a plan—and for helping point me in what ultimately was the right direction.
This was a portrait taken as part of a short project I embarked on one night to photograph/speak to the people who’d be effected by the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA. Keith listened to my idea(s) and offered encouragement along the way.
Thank you, Keith, for treating me in a way that genuinely makes me feel special. The story of our friendship will forever remain a favorite and is one I enjoy telling on a regular basis. And thank you for providing a proper balance of fun, encouragement, honesty and fabulous meals.
Thank you, Lauren and Jonathon, for allowing me to cat-sit for a week, exposing me to Game of Thrones and my choice of James Bond films ala surround sound (and air condition…and the realization that I am no longer a cat person, but a full-on dog lover). And for thoughtful art that hits close to home.
Thank you, Katie and Nina, for so many things. There are very few instances in my life where I can recall new acquaintances reaching out the way you two did. Actually, I’ve never become such close friends in such a short amount of time with anyone. Thank you for opening your home and hearts to me. And for being such strong, compassionate and hilarious women. And for being my sisters.
Rick and Jackie, for being as busy as you both tend to be, thank you for always sparing time to hear out (and help) a student employee. You both have been more than bosses—you’ve been friends. Jackie, it’ll be odd having you as a teacher but I know firsthand how much you care about your students. I look forward to being one of them.
Thank you, Hala, for traveling over 874 miles to spend the Fourth of July weekend with me. Thank you for putting up with my “rigid itinerary.” Yes, I hear it now and that’s probably not the best approach to presenting plans to someone on vacation (even if I did schedule time to “meander”). Thank you for being the one standing next to me at Coney Island for my first Fourth in NY. Thank you for being a constant presence in the city even when you weren’t here physically. Thank you for being the best friend a girl could ever hope for in any time zone.