I lived in Harlem for three years, and fell in love with it. The rawness, the beauty, the blooming, the past, the pain. It has energy. It’s so wonderfully - and sometimes awfully - real. It has injustices, but it fights.
I lived there but it never really felt like mine. And that’s okay.
But the West Village. Damn, that neighborhood holds onto me in a way few other places do.
When I come back to visit Manhattan, it’s where I go first.
It’s adorable and charming and iconic and stupidly expensive, sure.
However, it’s what the neighborhood requests of you that makes it so special.
It want you to sit down and have a cup of coffee topped with silky foam.
Or a glass sparkling with rosé and freshness.
And just watch.
And just listen.
And just be.
And yes, you will pay too much for your handmade gnocchi that chews doughy but melts like butter in your mouth or your sourdough bread spread thick with avocado and sprinkled with pink himalayan sea salt.
And yes, you might not get a table at the candlelit restaurant with five wooden tables.
And yes, the husky banker at the bar will lean too close to you, unaware of elbows and shoulders until he decides he wants something.
The West Village doesn’t care. It wants you to learn to savor, and to learn to wait, and to learn to push if needed.
It wants you to say yes, thank you, more, to whatever the hell this life is.
And if you’re lucky, you’ll leave with a spark of a story.