Reflections from Harlem

Last night, I boarded flight 352 from Ft. Lauderdale headed to NYC. All went well with the flight (with the exception of a 20 minute delay due to a reroute), and I arrived close to midnight.

After retrieving my bag from the carousel, I dragged two weeks’ worth of clothes, shoes, accessories and make up to the bus stop. Sure, I could’ve taken a cab to Gigi’s  Harlem abode, but I wanted to feel like a “local” again.  So, I waited with mostly airport employees for the M60 bus. I was nearly trampled to death when the already-packed bus arrived. New York is where Chival R. Young came to die.  Welcome Back, Sepia!

My morning routine wasn’t too different. Woke up, went to the gym, came back, showered, got dressed, had breakfast, and pondered what I’d do for the day.

Being away has changed my view of the city, just a bit. Everything is tiny, cramped, crowded. The people are pushy. It’s just all so…. different.

Since my friends in NY have fast-paced lives and demanding jobs, I was left to navigate the city alone. It’s not too different from when I  lived here, but it was a huge shock. I’m not sure if I expected everyone to just drop everything to hang out with and fawn over me all day, but I didn’t expect to traipse around town….alone.

For lunch my caloric indulgence was Ethiopian! Egads, it was sooo yummy. I went over to Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant in my old neighborhood, Midtown. I inhaled Kitfo (rare ground beef in spicy seasonings) and Gomen Wot (collard greens cooked to perfection). Savoring the soft, sour injera bread made me very happy. Could you imagine eating with a smile on your face?

 

Everything was just as I had remembered. A few buildings had been knocked down and a few new restaurants were in the place of others but it was pretty much the same place. Since Midtown is home to the Theater District, there were many tourists. I didn’t even think about going to Times Square because… it’s Times Square. Only tourists frequent Times Square and I’m not a tourist.

 

For the rest of the afternoon, I laid out in Central Park. I just picked a random spot in the shade and laid down. Simple relaxation. I drifted off into a light slumber and realized how tired I actually was. No nap + walking long distances + gym + sore muscles = One Sleepy Sepia.

 

I stopped by the Mr. Softee truck for a half and half cone and people watched for half an hour before I hopped onto the downtown train to Times Square and transferred to the uptown 2 train to 135th Street.

 

Walking through Harlem both this morning and this afternoon, seeing all the beautiful brown faces, funky outfits, fly fellas, I’m really missing Miami. I never thought I’d get to this point. When I left kicking and screaming in December 2009, I thought Miami was the pre-cursor to hell. I was depressed and had tried and failed to find any way possible to get back here: New Yooooork. The Concrete Jungle…  I appreciate my home.  I’ll always have a soft spot for The Big Apple but I’m growing and changing and seeing what really matters.

Tomorrow, I will venture into Brooklyn, my second first love….

Am I having growing pains?  Let’s talk.

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