I love your auspiciousness in the morning, the way the rumble of a garbage truck or the blare of a horn at 5:42 a.m. will remind me that you have been awake all night long, at work.
I love the way you are flanked by Central and Riverside Parks, a strip of frenzy fringed on either side by flora and fauna.
I love the the still-not-old-to-me glamour of your taxis whizzing downtown in the dark, bearing fashionable people to fashionable dinners or opera at the Met or parties in chic loft-style apartments in TriBeCa with elevators that open right into them, chandeliers emerging from the 14 foot ceilings and gin martinis circulating the room.
I love that you are a haven from that downtown-ness, too — that you are the squat and broad-faced and approachable cousin of your cooler neighbors in Flatiron and beyond.
I love the windows of the cafes on your avenues, where inside, at 11:15 in the morning or 2:45 in the afternoon or 11:02 in the evening, you will find diners ensconced in cozy conversation, glasses of wine swirling — in short, that there is no such thing, really, as “peak times” in these parts: you are always on, at pinnacle, heightened.
I love the broad expanse of your sidewalks, so much friendlier to my children and I than your narrow and shattered counterparts downtown.
I love the relative cleanliness of your streets — relative being the operative word, as we are in Manhattan, after all. No offense.
I love the pattern of awnings on your streets, the observant nosiness of the doormen that dot their doorways — and the ceaseless movement of those doormen into and out of your dwellings to fetch packages or greet residents in taxi cabs or keep unsavory types moving down the block, reminding me, always, of the hundreds of thousands of stories in this city, and of my simultaneous insignificance to and participation in the enormous enterprise that is New York.
I love your foliage.
I love the startling romance of the brownstones on your streets coming off the volume and chaos and breadth of your avenues.
I love the children that sprint down your sidewalks and through your parks and into and out of your storefronts and up and down your stairs. The first weekend I moved here, I ran into a friend of a friend at a playground just off Central Park West and mentioned, swooningly, how happy I was to be up here, in this new, further-north neighborhood, especially after the dramatics of the move, and she returned, with no small measure of archness: “Oh, really? You can’t walk a city block without dodging an oxygen tank.” Very New York of her to take the wind out of my sails; pessimism, as a mentor once told me, is always cooler, and this city is full of the coolest cats. But I found her observation funny, as I notice mainly children in your embrace–and the young-ish, exhausted-looking parents that trail them. I am one such.
In short, on an occasional brisk and bright Tuesday morning in January, I will wake and look outside my bedroom window at the neoclassical brick building built exactly one century and one year ago (1919) and at the bristly, leafless tree limbs that extend from its left-hand side, harbingers from a secret garden behind it, and I will watch the thread of traffic beneath me, and I will think —
I love you, Upper West Side.
And on the Wednesday following, I might think, I hate you, New York.
But that is the way of this city, whose indifference and beauty can leave me emotionally wedged between frustrated angst and prideful affection.
Go gentle on me tomorrow.
+I will admit that it is hard to own a dog here.
+Today is the final day of the Saks sale. Ordering this Lilly dress for $34 for mini, but how good is this sweater and this faux fur jacket? (Also, can’t beat the price on these rarely-discounted Sorel boots.)
+Though I am loving these Re-Play plates, a reader recommended these similar and super inexpensive divided ones from Target. Going to snag a set next time I place an order.
+This $15 swimsuit is a dead-ringer for Minnow Swim!
+Ulla has my number these days. Obsessing over the color, shape, pattern of this dress!