A Nieuw Yorke Sojourn {In Six Parts}. Part, The First: 'A BAPTISM'


Manahatta Vs. Breuklyn
Manahatta Vs. Breuklyn

I thought I'd go to the City That Never Sleeps- to 'Wake Up'. That is just what happened. Naturally, I thought that as long as I was there, I'd stay awake. Not so- in fact, I stayed so long that upon leaving the place, I felt as though I had just left hibernation and joined the rest of the world.It were Twelve years ago whilst a young man, aged four and twenty on a one-way flight to Nieuw Yorke with two suitcases, I read Joan Dideon's iconic, revolutionary essay titled 'Goodbye To All That'. It was her triumphant and embittered adieu to the Great American Citadel. Of course being a naive young man moving there, I could only relate to her subject on the visceral level as one who was himself leaving a the place he had called home. I thought I was well prepared. I, a country boy, spent my first harrowing night in a strange nieuw apartment next to a window from which brayed the frightful sounds of sirens and an all-night tire shop directly across the street and I humbly admit that I whimpered like Tom Hanks in 'Big' spending his first night alone, wishing for his Mum.

Fast forward ten and a half years later to when I, a humbled piece of Breuklyn granite was on a one-way- flight to The City Of Angels, revisiting Ms.Dideon's timeless reflections of a city that had slowly worked her over for eight character building years. Now I heard gems of wisdom that rang out like truths you wait your whole life to hear. "It is often said that Nieuw Yorke is a City only for the very rich or the very poor. It is less often said that Nieuw Yorke is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young."

~A Disclaimer~

I recreate Nieuw Yorke now- in effigy- to burn it- not out of bitterness mind ye- rather, I seek to clear the way for something nieuw, to reap the smokey old ghost of an unwavering dream; to reconnect with the one who first moved there in the hopes I might rediscover that wild-eyed man of conquest as he embarks on many more journeys awaiting just beyond a golden horizon. This ritualistic burning is not done out of hatred. The best anecdote or cliched symbol I can think of invokes Hendrix who memorably set his guitar ablaze on stage out of worship, passion and love for the instrument that taught him so much about life...albeit he was on something too- but still.

Now like so many before me, I am riddled with the bullet holes of hard lessons and priceless wisdoms which seem to have let in a veritable array of sunlight and humility where once a rock-solid ego stood. An ego that fashioned itself into an unapproachable survivor willing to take years and years to make it there. An ego that only seemed to grow with the idea that it was living the party on which the whole rest of the world thinks it is constantly missing out simply because I lived in Nieuw Yorke Towne. An ego that grew to such heights in rock bottom red badges that it felt a hard-assed kinship to the lofty towers which mercilessly blocked out the light of the Sun. I came to Nieuw Yorke, a clean slate {of sorts} and left with skin as slate pale as any canvas on which I painted any number of journeys.

In the throws of my feverish reign as an 'All-Knowing Nieuw Yorker', I remember hearing the eloquent Garrison Keillor observing that he '...moved to Nieuw Yorke as a young man to learn how to live a normal life'. Too many years after hearing that, I too considered the lesson learned, and hastily I made my exodus. Let the following six part essay begin just over one year later {and finished a year after that} serve as my attempt to show some semblance of dignity in the process.



~PART, The First: A BAPTISM~

"Love Your hate.YourFaith lost.YouAre nowOneOf us."~Davey Havoc 2003.

And now a message to the 'Very Young' People:

{And by 'young'- I simply refer to ye, whose experience of Nieuw Yorke is  younger than mine (particularly if your time spent falls somewhere betwixt the two year/ nine year mark). If that is you than it is safe to say- atleast in the realm of space and time that my experience spanning ten and a half years is your elder.}

{And for those of ye who technically have outlasted me or not yet but will- good for you- just know that when you finally leave- I have a head start and then some...so this applies to Ye as well.}

--And so...For the 'Very Young':

Those first years you will spend or have already spent, wherein you thought: in _____ years I will be a Nieuw Yorker! It Already Happened. The first years made you a super being. A citizen of the globe. An ambitious person. A passionate soul. A virgin no longer. I congratulate you for having arrived at the City of Cities. If you don't believe me I invite you to visit another city- ANY city. From this day going forward, they will never be 'cities' to you again...well maybe Cairo...or Osaka--but the Rest  shall ever after be mere TOWNS. If any of them feel 'smaller' or 'quieter' by comparison well then- you've already done it!

If all ye need is someone to release you-

allow me the honor- *ahem*

"By the Ghosts Of Mother Nieuw Amsterdamm,And Father Nieuw Yorke, And the Graces Of The Noble Savage Preceding them, I hold ye,The long-static Wanderer,Fast in a final moment of Metropolitan Stasis-- For the holy purpose Of symbolic Nieuw Yorke Catharsis, I submerge thee In holy Pizza Grease, The sacred stench of Urine, Maker's Manhattan's And Black-As-Night-Coffee, Yay, Submerge in this Intriguing Mixture For though ye were afraid to ask for it-- You asked for it. It somehow seemed the only way you'd leave Because let's face it- That's what it would have taken for a freak like you... And me.By the powers vested in my person From over ten years of wondrous Hell, I release ye from these polluted ethersAnd urine-soaked subways.EMERGE from thine bog-like pools of pizza-grease. EMERGE from your cavernous subway tunnels-- Eyes blinking at the daylight-- Yay, EMERGE! I release ye. I baptize ye. You are Thus relinquished. And released. Go forth And bourgeon And encounter other cities. Or climb a mountain Or whatever ye dreamed of doing while you lorded over a sad view Of garbage cans and a brick wall from the only window in your long-dwelled shoebox. It's time to live your life. No one is coming to save you. Just you. Amen."

From now on everyday will be a day in which you may breathe another sigh of relief that you did it. You did the Nieuw Yorke Thing. You are free to move out of the flatmate's living room. Take a bedroom of your very own. You are free to be a human being again. Now... Whither you leave or wish to remain in Nieuw Yorke for the incomparable bragging rights well...all I can offer is my salute if you'll have it. Throw back a 'Nieuw Yorke Baptism' in my honor and Salut!

Nieuw Yorke Baptism Shot {Recipe}: 1 Shot of Bourbon- preferably 'Widow Jane' chased with 1 Shot of Coffee {Black As Night} chased with 1 Shot of Pizza Grease

Ye shoot this- ye can do anything.

{raises glass} To your health... and your wings!

~ Pop on Over next week for'PART, The Second: THE CITY OF GHOSTS' ~