(The following is to be read in a thick New York Accent:)
It was a clear morning but Erik Reichenbach’s seat on the plane was facing away from Manhattan, so he didn’t get to see how impressive the skyscrapers looked from above. It was Tuesday, Sept. 13th, and way too early.
Over the next seven hours he walked down from the Upper West Side and through Central Park, Times Square, the Flatiron district, Union Square, Chinatown, Little Italy, and eventually to the Lower East Side. Parched and tired he met his cousin Joy and her husband Joe at Spitzer’s Corner, where they were having a going away party. They were moving to London in three days! They all shared some drinks and eventually checked out the Motor City Bar. In trying to look hip and grimy like Detroit the bar ended up looking much better then Detroit. After another beer or two they made it back to their apartment pretty late and because the place was filled with moving stuff Erik slept on the balcony. It was warm and he was a little drunk so it wasn’t a problem. According to Joy,”You’ve slept in a cave before, so a balcony with a sleeping bag is a pretty sweet deal.” Zing!
The view was incredible even from the fifth floor with the sounds of the city and crappy bars below. Erik passed out over a galaxy of drunk New Yorkers.
The next day (after some of the best french toast he had ever eaten at the place down the street) Erik went to see the rest of the NYC Survivors and watch the premier of South Pacific. It was great to see everyone there, and even more fun to watch the show. Past Survivors give some of the best commentary about Survivor, and it was really hilarious to see Erik, Andrea, Stephen, Courtney, Eliza, Stacy, and a few others from past episodes watching the show. Courtney easily won Erik over for,”best comments”. As for Erik’s own thoughts he thought 1. Cochran is the next big thing in Survivor if he doesn’t screw it up too bad 2. Rick is a winner just because of his hat and mustache, and 3. Stacy Kimball brought some of the best wine he has ever tasted. “I hope the entire season is as good as this first episode; it looks like they have a lot of really interesting characters on the cast” Erik remarked, while dipping in and out of sobriety. Tired again from walking all day and drinking wine Erik slept on Elizas couch which turned out to be pretty sweet deal for him. Oscar the dog crawled onto the couch at about 3 a.m. and slept on Erik’s big Survivor stomach. The pup kept him company until the next morning.
Now, Erik’s cousin Nate Neal lived down in Brooklyn, so he knew he had to start heading south. Erik started walking his way down to the Financial District, winding in and out of streets and alleyways, and eventually saw the One World Trade Center (originally known as Freedom Tower) come into view. All the time he was walking in New York the dude was overshadowed by massive buildings; but when he got to the WTC site he became consciously aware of the Big. Empty. Sky. A big empty sky where two of the most massive of New York’s structures should still be standing.
Further West he continued and found himself near the big city courthouse, in hopes of seeing Ice-T filming Law and Order SVU. No luck (But he did see Tyra Banks signing her new book at Barnes and Noble the day prior so I guess Erik can’t be too greedy).
It looked like rain, so, fearing his that his big golden locks might be getting damp he jumped on the Subway and went to Brooklyn to visit Nate. Nate Neal is a comic artist, (www.nateneal.com) like Erik but more successful at it, living in New York with his girlfriend. Nate pretty much showed his cousin everything he needed to know about his home in Brooklyn which is a pretty nice place and with easy access to Manhattan. “Not as glamorous and ritzy,” Erik thought, “but with a lot of character and personality. It reminds me of Ypsilanti where I used to live in college!”
So the story is getting kind of long and boring so I will summarize and shorten its ending for you. This is the internet, and nobody sticks around to read all this flowery descriptions and crap and yada yada yada.. I will try and keep it short.
Erik stayed with Nate until the end of his trip making a journey or two into Manhattan for the next two days (which we won’t go into). He met a Facebook friend of his who was originally from Israel who just happened to be in NYC at the same time as Erik. He had never met her before, but they met up and talked about her country and his country over dinner. He met a few more people, visited the Met and saw some beautiful artwork, had a drink at the bar with a friend or two and went home Sunday morning.
See, New York is a tough city and it started to get to Erik. He was surprised on this trip by how lonely it can get and how alienated you can be even when surrounded by millions of people. He was a little in over his head. A little. He kind of turned into a really old lonely man; you know, striking up conversation with random people that were forced to talk to you because they were in service industry (bartenders, waitresses, bus drivers, etc.). He also found himself addicted to his phone and twitter, reaching out for attention or interaction with others. It shocked me a little bit how anxious he got from just not having anyone to talk to for a few days while wandering the streets. I guess that can happen to anyone.
Erik would like to live in New York at some time in his life, but he seems pretty content with his home in Ann Arbor for now. After seeing the prices of apartments outside of Manhattan it looks completely reasonable, financially, for Erik to live there. The creative arts and services listing on Craigslist alone was amazing; he could have applied for four jobs the first day he was there and gone to four interviews! Four f*cking interviews! Poor Erik wouldn’t be so poor; he would be able to find work. I just don’t think he’s really ready for New York yet, despite knowing the people that he does and the opportunities that are waiting for him there. A little too “business” for Erik right now.
Oh, and on the plane ride back he said something about seeing downtown Manhattan from the air in beautiful sunlight, making it look like a giant castle of a city. Totally worth the trip just for that I say.