Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. I leave mine here in New York. On these streets. With these people. And before I go, I’ve got to say thank you.
To the people, all these people. I’ll miss you most of all. The rude, the crude, and the kind, in masses and exceedingly long lines. Busy, moving, climbing, and often blocking my way. New Yorkers and their never-ending opinions, loud, boisterous, and strong. You have to admire a city of people who never admit they’re wrong. You taught me everything through your energy, drama, and noise. The doormen. The fruit vendors on every uptown corner. The city workers who make this city work. The musicians who play their hearts out on the street, in the subway, in the park, in the great concert halls and small hidden clubs that dot every neighborhood. The writers. The dreamers. My boss Charlotte Wilcox who taught me how to survive (on $396/week) and my boss Bob G. who taught me how to thrive. My many bosses in the land of never-ending cubicles, some hideous, some clueless, and some wise. My pot-smoking granny neighbor and the hoarder who set my apartment building on fire. Even the guy who just now almost knocked me over as he passed. Even you. Thank you all. You have given me material—it’s all material! —to craft, create, and grow a body of work and a life of meaning.
Of course to my friends. Friends who are family, my framily, in New York. Those who are still here and those who have gone on to new adventures in new places. You inspire me, keep me reaching, keep my striving, and that is no small gift.
To the food. I cannot leave without thanking all of the chefs and servers in food trucks, behind counters, in kitchens great and small. Some who charge a fortune and some who charge almost nothing at all. (Especially to Lenny’s, Tal’s, and H&H, thanks for all your fine bagels and schmears over the years.) You’ve all fed me well, in fat times and lean, and inspired me to see what I could create in my own tiny kitchen. You filled my belly and fed my soul. So thank you.
To the dogs of New York and their parents who love them. Thank you for giving Phin and me a community of kindred spirits, human and animal. To the Spot Experience for taking such good care of my little guy when I had to travel and couldn’t take him with me.
To Central Park and Riverside Park, you were sanctuaries to me in all kinds of weather. I would come to you when I was happy and sad and disappointed and confused because you would just let me walk and be.
To the trains, planes, buses, boats, cabs, and my own two strong feet that take me all over this small place so packed with life that it feels hundreds of times its physical size. Thank you for showing me the world without leaving the island.
To the museums. You have been some of my happiest homes in New York – from AMNH to MoMA to the Met – I often found myself wandering those halls, lost and found in equal amounts.
So New York, this is where I leave you. The end of another chapter in my New York life. For those keeping track, this is the third and I’m sure not the last. New York, you and I will always be together, at least in spirit. I’ll come back to visit and probably, eventually, to live. We’ll both be a little bit different and a little bit the same. Times change, we change, places change. Change can’t be stopped. You taught me that change is never to be feared, but embraced – fully, lovingly, and constantly. And that I’ll take with me everywhere I go. Thank you, for everything.