..and it was everything I needed.
Three days of rain and three Brooklyn bagels later, the sun met me in Greenwich Village.
I became captivated by the perfectly clever beast that is the transit system, and spent five days riding it. I learned to follow the The Empire State Building like it was the North Star, and to never by any means get on an empty train car (there's always a reason).
In New York, nobody cares about you, and it's incredibly humbling feeling so small. There are millions more immigrants, artists, students, activists, celebrities and trashbags on the sidewalk than there are in Chicago.
There's something about anxiety and depression that goes after the ego. There is something about New York City that wakens the adventurer, attracts the curious, cosmic consciousness at your feet.
Days of exploration patched a few leaks in my spirit and woke up the small part of me that lives for city life.
On this trip, I learned that the Irish lads in Queens truly do not sleep and will lock you into their bar when it's after hours with fifteen other locals so you can continue drinking or punching each other in the face over political views.
I consumed copious amounts of tofu schmear. I burned my tongue on Thai cuisine. I bought heavy chopsticks for shaky hands. I touched E. E. Cumming's desk and nearly caught fire. I ate cotton candy in a lonely Coney Island. I wrote, I read and I slept soundly in a cozy Sunnyside apartment.
I saw Lady Liberty for the first time while she was lit up at night. I marched through Central Park in the rain and dried off inside the Met. I was illuminated in Times Square. I stood where thousands of lives were taken without permission. I photographed old buildings and read somewhere "Life started when I got to New York."
With every low-budget-trip I haphazardly afford for the sake of experience, I fall in deeper in love with myself and the things I'm capable of.
I had a really great time being a tourist and taking the same steps so many before me have taken. And now, it sounds really, really nice to disappear somewhere much older, wiser and bigger than me outside of the Midwest.