leaving the city that never sleeps

This morning-- spilling into the afternoon--was like a Simon and Garfunkel song; I sat on a train, on this rainy day, and watched as New York City slid away from me. I reentered the outlying cities, looking out over sleepy little cities and towns, traveling over waterways on little bridges made to rock our train back and forth, lulling me to sleep. Everything about leaving the City was unlike how I’d entered it.

This morning we woke up early so we could go have a breakfast in the West Village (Manhattan) where my cousin works. It was one of those wonderful successes; trying out a restaurant that my cousin passes every day en route to work, one which she had often wondered about. The restaurant is Grey Dog and a better breakfast place in town I can’t imagine I’d find. Everything about the restaurant was great, from the décor (random pictures and signs, snowboards—many things featuring dogs); to the tables themselves, which had hand painted maps of various areas around the U.S. on them—ours was of the Napa Valley, CA area; to the food and AMAZING coffee! My breakfast was about $15, but that included a huge portion of eggs and these fabulous homefries, with a side plate absolutely stacked with bacon and two thick slices of their rye bread. Everything was great, and the coffee was strong and flavorful and dark and mysterious without a hint of bitterness (now why can’t I find a man like that?)

After the meal my cousin pointed me in the right direction, back to the Subway with directions on how to get back to Grand Central Station where I would get my Metro North Train. Maybe it was because I was full from breakfast, or maybe it was because I was tired after an entire day spent walking around Manhattan, but I had found a calm and felt at peace with the city. The city was no longer intimidating, and I even fancied that I understood the Subway signs and sprawling lettered and color-lined maps. Maybe that is why NYC is so amazing: because after even just a little time in the City it can really start to grow on you; maybe even make you wish for the ability to reach so many things so quickly. And maybe part of the magic for me is that I can also leave it, but it’s not too far away for those return visits.

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