I came back to New York to give thanks to those who taught me how to live in this city of memories, how to navigate in a landscape of loss and change. That was supposed to be my joy and it would have been enough by itself. Except I took a long walk through my old streets and fell into the beautiful both familiar and new.
The methadone clinic is still there but now also the third horseman of the gentrification apocalypse, a sushi bar. Two guys on the corner are going to war over a beer at 9AM on a Saturday while the morning runners all head towards or from the park. Peppermint balls from the bodega are up to ten cents a piece now, to compete with the store that sells charcuterie and fancy cheese. Across from the post office there's a bar that you could leave without something unpleasant lodged between your ribs.
It still feels like home. It must still be home.