Around 8 last night, I slammed my Chimay on a table on the Ninth Ward patio and demanded a selfie with my partner-in-crime R and her Scot H. The ensuing picture is equal parts hilarious and wonderful, snapped just a little too early so no one is completely ready, and yet we’re all mid-laugh and clearly having a blast. This was all taking place while surrounded by semi-celebrities, including a Disney star, a famous movie editor and an indie darling director, as well as the person I consider to be the most talented actor in the world, though the fact that we share a bloodline may make me biased. This was the afterparty for Night Has Settled, a new movie that had just shown at the Soho Film Festival, featuring my cousin, who may as well be my little brother. After the movie/Q&A finished, R, H, my fashionista C and I stopped at the party to hang out with my aunt and cousin, where we were greeted with my new favorite sentence in the English language: All the beer is free.
This entire past weekend was a gastronomic marathon, starting with Starbucks on Saturday, into Smorgasburg at the Fort Greene flea (with the above grilled cheese, natch), followed by happy hour at Serafina for pizza, finishing Saturday with sushi in the Upper West and then pre- and post-movie drinks with the whole family on Sunday. It was one of those weekends where things moved seamlessly, one activity into another into another, and yet I don’t feel exhausted or angry that it’s Monday. I’m full, certainly, and maybe a little perturbed with Sunday LB’s decision to order a cheesesteak after getting back from the afterparty (“THIS IS SO NECESSARY”) but spending a perfect spring weekend outside with some amazing people does wonders for a new week. Looking back at the ridiculous photos, from the selfies to the blurry action shots, to photos of my cousin on the Red Carpet, it’s easy to remember how much I love this city and why.
The city moves so quickly, people everywhere, cars, cabs, busses trying to mow you down. New York does everything to chew you up and spit you out only to take another bite, a broken subway during the morning commute, a super who refuses to work outside of 9-5 on weekdays, the couple next door that never stops fighting. The constant sensory overload means there’s nothing more I want to do at the end of a day than sit on my couch in the quiet, trying to find a minute of peace in my deep blue walls, shutting out the running list of things I need to do so I can try and relax for just a second, just a little bit of time. It’s not a place for everyone, and it’s not a life for everyone, because even those three seconds of peace are peppered with the Mister Softee truck that plays till 11 every night, the whirr of a plane overhead and the loud beat of the Latin music on repeat in the Heights.
Yet other times I lean my head back sometimes and sigh, drinking in the movement and the flow of the city that never sleeps. This is a place where magical things can happen in places as simple as the subway station, where you wander through Central Park twice in a day just because it’s there and it’s spring. It’s the most incredible people watching because you never know what you might see next; it’s taking a chance on a $1 record or six because there’s no reason not to. It’s spending a Sunday finally introducing your parents to the amazing people in your life that they’ve been hearing about for months (or maybe just a week) and watching your cousin on the big screen smoking fake cigarettes (I hope they were fake). And even if it can’t be all those things all the time, it’s a place where sometimes you walk into a bar on the Lower East Side after a perfect weekend, only to be told that all the beer is free.