I was doing some shopping and errand running in central Chelsea (one of the only below-72nd Street Manhattan neighborhoods that’s not oppressively swarming with tourists this time of year) the other night. When I first moved to New York I lived with a relative in this area for nearly 3 months, while I got my bearings and looked for a porta potty-sized apartment of my own. Now, I usually only travel down there once every 6 months or so to visit the Himalayan art museum or meet up with others at one of the district’s all-you-can-drink-mimosas-and-screwdrivers brunch bistros. It’s a very hip, chic part of town, which helps to explain why I no longer gravitate to it.
Toward the end of the night, as I rode up the escalator in one particular retail complex and glanced around at the “scenery,” I (for the first time) realized just how many rare memories have been made on it over the course of the past decade. Outside of my living quarters, I don’t believe I’ve ever had any other single, specific spot that’s served as the go-to location for across-the-board personal chaos. I’ve thrown up on this escalator; I’ve fallen down on it; it’s been the site of more than one monumental conversation and more than one epiphany. I remember exactly how blank my mind was when I rode it up to the top to return a sweater a few minutes after getting a phone call that I knew would permanently change my outlook and identity. When shit has happened, it has often happened either here or on the way here.
As I rode back down before walking out and onto the street, I expected something momentous to get underway – and was almost disappointed when it didn’t.