Since moving to New York almost five years ago, I try to revel in the moments that make me feel like a true New Yorker; moments that allow me to breathe deeply into the reasons why I love this extraordinary city, and the life I’ve built here, so much. Those moments can be few and far between, though, when you’re bogged down by the reality of living in New York — it’s tough, expensive, messy, and, most of all, exhausting. So when we do encounter those instances when we remember why we’re here, it’s important to wrap ourselves up in them, if only for a millisecond, as a reminder of just how alive we are in this intricate collection of skyscrapers and sidewalks.
Tonight was one of those reminders — a night you could only believe was written in books or for movies. As I sit in a cab on the Westside Highway, on the highest of highs, looking out at the city lights as I climb the streets toward my sweet little studio apartment, I realize I want to cling to this feeling forever. My home awaits me only to fall asleep and dream up more nights like this one.
My entire day was dedicated to celebrating my sweet, warm, fun-loving best friend; a man who finds joy in every moment and whose birthday could not be disrupted by the sweltering city heat, nor the poor souls who texted him to say they would miss sharing the night with him.
If you’re reading this, you missed out.
In conjuring up ideas for his special day, I encouraged him to spend his night at Haswell Green’s, a new bar on 52nd Street in Midtown next to the Neil Simon Theatre (my former home) and off the beaten path of most Times Square tourists. They have incredible cocktails, a very uniquely crafted menu (helloooo bacon wrapped meatballs) and live music, where the house band, Imperial Cities, plays most nights, including tonight.
It was so unbelievably special. Everyone was drawn to the dance floor by this group of musicians; whose arsenal of song selections is outrageously impressive, to put it mildly. I was euphoric as I ran though the crowd
singing screaming Hanson’s “Mmbop” at the top of my lungs with my closest friends and favorite dance partners, holding the birthday boy’s hands as we grooved to ‘Valarie” by Amy Winehouse, and cackling when Imperial Cities played “Baby Got Back” when someone requested a love song.
Tonight was a night you remember when you’re 90; where you metaphorically pat your twenty-six-year-old self on the back for living out your dreams and dancing like a fool until all hours of the night while you could. I am so lucky to live in a city that brings me friends to build memories with and nights to be preemptively nostalgic for.
New York, you have my heart.