I know I haven’t written in a while, and this is a bit of a personal post, but it’s a shoutout to someone very, very important to me.
My Nana turns 85 years old today. That’s 85 years she has lived in New York–longer than most of my friends, combined. 85 years below 14th Street– I’m still wishing I could find an apartment for even one year below 14th Street.
Something I think about as I wander or speedwalk around town is how certain places– restaurants, street corners, subway stops, convenience stores (?)– become loaded with memories. A flash of one moment on E. 20th., another on Franklin St, yet another on W 58th. I’ll concede that I’m a nostalgic person. Perhaps not everyone walks around with memories from the past waving to them at the other side of the crosswalk. Does Nana see eight decades worth of this? Would that be good or bad?
She loves asking where I go out at night. If I say “7th and C,” she’ll respond, “Oh, the southeast corner? That’s the store where my sister used to send me to take down her messages.” Because cell phones didn’t exist in the 1930s. Or telephones in Lower East Side tenements. If the answer was “9th and 2nd,” well, “That’s where Papa and I met at his friend’s bar.”
And to think of how much she’s seen the city and its neighborhoods change? We could obviously go on about that for hours. But I hope all of us who love this place like she does will witness changes that are just as wonderfully mind-boggling. She is my absolute favorite New Yorker, and I just wanted to take this place (even though she doesn’t know what a blog is) to say Happy Birthday, Nana!