Sun streaming through the blinds and the sound of a subway rattling outside the bedroom window woke us the morning we left New York City. I was going to miss the rumble of a passing train once we were back home in Indiana. Chris called an Uber for us. He has become another son to Rooster and me. Richard couldn’t have picked a better partner as far as Rooster and I are concerned. We hugged our New York City, guys before we took the elevator to the bottom floor. It was a bitter-sweet goodbye. It was hard to leave, but we had a home we needed to return to. We promised to come back and see the two of them next year. The ride to LaGuardia was gloomy. Rooster and I didn’t want to leave the city. It is sad to leave behind people you love and have a fantastic adventure come to an end at the same time. Of course, we would be flying home to other people we loved. We’d have other adventures waiting for us in the future. Rooster and I vowed we’d take our wanderlust into the year 2020. Still, this was one of the best trips we’d experienced.
We encountered the standard road construction as the Uber driver pulled up at the gate to LaGuardia. It seems like they are working on the same project every time we fly into this airport. I wonder if they will ever get it done. We made it to the right terminal in time to settle in and wait for the plane, which was twenty minutes late. I met a woman with an intriguing lifestyle. It appears her children have come up with the age-old question of what to do with mom when she gets old. They fly her to each of their houses, where she stays for a couple of months. She’d been visiting her son’s family in New York and would fly to another son’s home in Zionsville, Indiana. Once she was tired of staying there, she’d visit her third son in Evansville. It sounded like a life filled with adventure and excitement. Maybe our kids will work out an arrangement for Rooster and me. It’s a better alternative than one of those retirement communities filled with old people. I’ve heard rumors there are some elderly individuals taking cruises to stay out of nursing homes. They can experience good food, entertainment, and medical care at the cost of a ticket to board the ship.
I had plenty of time on our flight home to reflect on life in the Big Apple. The city is a crazy quilt of stark contrasts tied together by a binding threat of a desire for more. The people who come to the enormous city are searching for something they couldn’t get back home. Maybe they are chasing the almighty dollar. Perhaps they are after a taste of fame. Perhaps, it might merely be a desire to reinvent themselves. Write their own script from the fabric of a city that never sleeps. Whatever the attraction might be it draws them from their home and drops them in the middle of a bustling metropolis of desire.
I found one of the harshest contrasts in Manhattan. The filthy rich make their home among the destitute. On our visit this year, we saw the homeless sleeping on the sidewalks in this land of the billionaires. Signs of extreme wealth were evident as we meandered the streets in this Borough of the city. The sight of people huddled together on the pavements using tarps to fend off the rain was a dramatic divergence to the wealth surrounding us.
People in New York City are always in a hurry. If you don’t move fast enough, someone will push you out of the way. The Big Apple is a walking city. These folks have critical things to do. They don’t want to have a tourist make them late arriving at their destination.
Foot power and the subway are the best ways to get around. There are countless stairs to climb and miles to walk, so you don’t have to worry about getting your exercise. We strode over five miles a day while we were there.
It’s a city that knows how to wear color, but the contrasts make it look best in black and white. I’ve planned to make a crazy quilt, which would capture the true nature of the city my son now calls home. I could never decide what fabric should be used as the background for my stitches. I realized the quilt should be made with black and white material and embellished with bright colored stitches. It’s the contrast between darkness and light, which captures the spirit of the city.
The five Boroughs have a unique personality and flavor. Manhattan is too Ritzy. It’s dressed up like a lady on her way to a ball, but she isn’t sure what to expect when she gets there. She’s a little self-conscious about her dress and her shoes. The diamond earrings in her ears are made of glass. Her image would get tarnished if the people knew who she really was. I found Brooklyn and Queens to be a place where ordinary people live. I found nothing pretentious or fake about what I discovered there.
New York is a city, which knows how to celebrate Christmas. I suspect it has something to do with all the buying and selling, which goes on during the holiday season.
The Statue of Liberty is visible everywhere in the city. New Yorkers are proud of the famous statue sitting in their harbor. There was evidence everywhere I look that this city truly is the melting pot of the world. It was in all the languages being spoken, the identity of the neighborhoods we wandered through, and the food we put in our mouth. You could eat your way around the world dining in New York.
Finally, it is no place for silver-haired people to live. This is especially true in Manhattan. I didn’t see another elderly person walking the streets there unless they had a camera in their hands and were apparent tourists. What I did witness was many young people rushing from place to place, trying to hustle a buck.
It was time for this old hen to take her Rooster and head for home. We landed in Indianapolis in the afternoon. We noticed the cold when we waited for our ride on the sidewalk outside the airport. There was a long drive ahead of us before we would be home. We weren’t sure about what to expect when we got there. We left town in the middle of a power failure. We climbed into the Sunshine Mobile with a million memories of New York City rambling around inside of our heads. We’d looked at amazing artwork, visited historical sites, and spent a wonderful Thanksgiving in Queens. Rooster and I can’t wait to go back again. When we were unpacking, I took a close look at our Metro Cards. Rooster made a mistake and purchased them for the entire year. They won’t expire until November 30, 2020. It appears we have the perfect excuse to go back for a return visit. We all know Rooster is cheap. He wants to get what he paid for when it comes to subway rides.