New York will be back, you’ll see


My longstanding love affair with New York City has hit a rough patch.

Memories of an afternoon at The Museum of Modern Art, accessed via a circuitous journey through the depths of our Byzantine New York City subway system, are not currently a reasonable option.

Dim sum and dumplings savored in Chinatown on a rainy Sunday morning are a distant and ever more tenuous memory. Cannoli from the real Little Italy — on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx — are out of reach, but never forgotten.

A night spent at a downtown theater, or watching spellbound as Alvin Ailey dancers swirl and spin to the notes uptown, is no longer imaginable. A fragrant mole or arroz con pollo beckons at La Morada in Mott Haven, but is oddly unattainable.

My once guilty pleasure — an egg cream at Gem Spa on the Lower East Side — is a thing of the past. Its doors are now shuttered forever.

Where has my city gone? Will it come to embrace me again? Will I reluctantly emerge as a newly minted tree hugger in these dire, desperate days of pandemic?

Have my New York passions been replaced by new desires? Today I dream of vast blue sea, wide green meadow, of verdant forest, scented by pine needle. There’s sand between my toes. The scent of lavender draws me in and offers me solace.

I have become a fickle and unfaithful lover. The sweet and funky rhythm of my New York seems veiled by invisible threat. I long for breathing space and untainted air.

It’s been a long and winding road, dear city of all cities. Tell me, please, that you’ll be returning soon. If not, I may need to find a new love object after all, these long, meandering — but mostly wonderful — years.

Our future is unknowable. But with a little luck, we’ll be back.

Sylvia Blumenfeld

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