I love that New York City let's you be whoever you are or want to be or whoever you don't know you are or didn't know you wanted to be. Whatever your personal cliché may be, New York City let's you own it without mass judgement.
Last night, while watching club-goers dance around me in the Midtown lounge of the infamous job #2 (existing in my own personal infamy, of course), I stood solo with my empty drink tray and watched a group of gay males lively conversing at their table. I was particularly drawn to one of the men in the group. He was wearing a hint of black eye liner that was better applied than I have seen on most women. With his man purse confidently slung over his shoulder, he returned from smoking a cigarette on the open balcony, lightly bouncing in his gait and bobbing his head, keeping perfect time to Beyonce's "Get Me Bodied". You go, boy, I thought. Be you. Own it and know you're fabulous. And don't appear to care whether any of the rest of us recognize it or not.
And - if I believed in signs (rather than in chaos and coincidence) - as if to affirm my thoughts on the grandeur of New York City, the opening beats of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind" began pulsing the walls and floors of the lounge. I was reminded of City Wendy's blog post from November 4th:
Since Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" was released in September and certainly since he and Alicia Keys played it before game two of the World Series, it's become an instant anthem for New York City. On warm afternoons when I keep the windows open, I hear it playing in cars passing by on the street below all day long. Sometimes the lyrics blasting from the cars almost match exactly where they are in my own living room. In New York, concrete jungles where dreams are made of/ there's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York!
Yesterday I grabbed my iPod and went for a 4 1/2 mile walk to Union Square and back, down 9th Avenue, across 36th street to 6th Avenue, down to 25th street and over to Broadway. It was a sunny afternoon, but the skyscrapers blocked my view of the sky and shaded the streets. At intersections, I turned my head up, caught some sun peeking through space between buildings, turned Jay-Z and Alicia up. These streets will make you feel brand new/Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York! ...
... Heading back up Broadway I passed Stacy London from "What Not To Wear," a show I watched almost daily until a couple months ago when I got bored of it. She saw me see her and we had that moment I've had so many times now with celebrities when they realize they've been recognized. There's a whole unspoken conversation in that moment that basically goes like this:
Me: Are you...?
Celeb: Yeah, but please, I'm sorry, I don't feel like talking to anyone right now.
Me: Okay, don't worry, I'm not a freak or anything.
And then, depending on what I think of the celebrity, I usually smile or nod or even do a little wave. Sometimes the celeb smiles back.
After I got home Drew and I took a cab up to the UWS to have dinner with his pops. I brought my iPod along, and gave Drew one earbud and kept the other for myself. I played "Empire State of Mind." Drew looked at me, nodded and smiled. We both looked out the window toward the bright lights and all the stories, Jay-Z singing a love song to New York in our ears.