“We do not remember days. We remember moments.” ~Cesare Pavese
I passed by this sign on the street about a month ago, and it’s message hit me so hard my eyes teared up. I was especially struck by this line: “In true New York fashion, friendships were created here that crossed all barriers, and allowed strangers to become family. Like its namesake in Paris, our Barbès became a melting pot, one that celebrates all that is good in New York City and all that is good in America.”
A month later, I’m still think about this message to take a moment to have a moment that we will treasure long after the moment has passed. This is a note of thanks from the owners and staff of Barbès Restaurant in midtown that’s closing because the building is being knocked down. This happens a lot in New York. We tear things down. We build new things. People arrive. People leave. The constant turnover of places and people is a way of life here.
But something about this particular note hit me hard. The sentiment, gratitude, and deep sadness of the situation was so authentic in this simple sign taped to the window. And despite the sorrow at the end of its life, there was joy and gratitude. I looked in, and saw many people of all different ages, colors, and faiths enjoying a meal there. They were having a moment, made all the more poignant by the fact that this place would no longer exist in a very short time. It would live only in their memories. And I think that’s the very best we can to do with our time—to create memories that will outlast us by welcoming people into our lives.