living in New York, even in memory

Kate Mayne, a wonderful friend of ours, although not an American, lived here for a couple of years prior to moving to Antwerp a few years ago. She wrote a response to my posting, "wanna make it in New York?"

I really enjoyed the piece about moving to New York. It graphically brought back many memories for me. I think the actual struggle to live in the city is quite insignificant considering the return one gets from the experience. Living in the city has made me a far more rounded and aware person; life for me in Europe and the States, well, the world, has taken on a more profound aspect, having experienced life on both sides of the water. I am sympathetic to and aware of the differences.

I frequently take the train between Brussels, Antwerp, the Netherlands. Somehow I always manage to pick out the New Yorkers (and I consider myself to be partly one of them), or we pick each other out of the crowd and have a great chat (the trombonist from Rome who spent a year at Julliard, the singer songwriter from Brooklyn who wouldn't take off his shades, the elderly dealer of african art and playwright from Manhattan telling me what really counts in life for him). Maybe New York is like a positive trait that you catch when you spend time there: the swirling, myriad possibilities that confront you wherever you look, that way of seeing, affecting your vision wherever you go. The hutzpah which took me so long to learn. The knowledge of the promise that you can have great lows but many great highs; it has something to do with optimism.

And wanting to keep your eyes always open, like Kate.