New Year in New York

January 1st, 2009 § 0 comments

In Costa Rica we took the family portrait with the camera balanced on a wine bottle, and in New York, near St. Mark’s and 1st, we set it on top of a phone booth, aiming toward what turned out to be a closed shop and a grate covered in graffiti. Our midnight image looks ironically like the perfect Gotham City portrait; we are happy, soused, and smoking. Having left Inwood a little later than we planned, this picture came after the 11:58 run out of the subway station in a ridiculous (but successful) effort to be above ground at midnight. Far away from the madness of Times Square, we imagined we could hear reverberating echoes rebounding off near by buildings. More immediately we were surrounded by the sounds of honking taxicabs, random pedestrian shouts, Shem’s vocalized yells, and muffled happy new year’s! coming from crowded bars.

Over a round of drinks in the east village we took turns toasting to the new year: to new york city and 2009; to Barack Obama and better, a new administration; to the economy and the depression; to a house, the compound, land, and growing things; to travel, returning to Europe, and seeing Barcelona; to jobs with meaning that contribute to something worthwhile; to family, friends, and moving east. Our spontaneous toasts were idealistic, far reaching, and potentially unrealistic, but they felt great to say aloud. Toasting to a better country, job, and lifestyle seemed to cover almost all the bases of our discontent. The energy to believe in creating a fulfilling lifestyle by some force of will seems to define a certain kind of youth, a mid to late 20’s age resting on the tipping point of reality. We no longer completely disregard the capitalist system we live in and by, but still genuinely believe that other possibilities are possible and better.

It was a freezing night in new york, if it was still the end of December it might have been one of the coldest days of the year. It was also the first new year I have ever celebrated that was a celebration of just that—a new year. We dropped our tradition of looking backward to the past year, of recounting the highlights and low points, as well as our usual premeditated outcome for what will come that was so dominant in years past. It was perhaps our acknowledgement of uncertainty on all fronts. No empty resolutions for 2009, it was an impromptu night from start to finish, with the improvised toasts somewhere in-between its beginning and end. It was 5:30 when we returned to Inwood, exhausted, sober, cold as hell, but content.

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