I am, somewhat unashamedly, something of a hoarder. You name it, I've probably got it saved in a drawer somewhere. Napkins? Check. Giant 'Central Park-lands' sign*? Check. Tickets, programmes, posters? Check. Hundreds of boxes of free matches even though I don't smoke and don't spend my free time starting fires? Check. And because I perceive some sort of emotional attachment to them all, they're all destined to remain in drawers, boxes and bags for eternity. Except the sign which is clearly far too large to go in a box and lives behind my desk along with a Griffin placard, my college Matriculation photo and the complete set of Bloomingdales's brown bags. And usually all these bits and pieces stay there, not to be looked at until I have to move them somewhere else because they're taking over the room and my father is convinced that the floor will give way if I don't move them.
Today, spurred on by my current notion that I'm going to go to New York again at some point this year** I got out the box of assorted momentoes from the last time that I went. And I realised at once why I'm someone who needs to keep all of this stuff. That a napkin from the Jeckell and Hyde restaurant immediately brought back memories of the most inept, but hilarious, waiter I've ever had. A packaged cylinder of destroyed $20 notes from the federal reserve had me remembering the feeling of complete and utter boredom that set in about ten minutes into the talk at the bank. And more pleasantly of all the gold I saw there. Numerous receipts reminded me of clothes that I've long since relegated to charity bags or dusty spaces in the back of cupboards. Most potently, however, was the diary I found. I can vividly remember buying it ftrom a somewhat fancy stationary shop, immediately seduced by its gorgeous gold cover, with new york streets written across it. And in the days after returning from New York I wrote the story of my trip in it in black and silver pen. This wasn't the sum total of the book - there are photos, postcards, ticket stubs, metro cards and quotes from my favourite New York set books. I'd even named it, in deference to two of my great NY obsessions, Breakfast at Bloomingdales***. And as I read it, I loved that my 18 year old self had thought to write it. Just because it swept me back, filled me with the wonder that New York filled me with at the time. And because of subsequent events, one section - "The One With The Almost Vertigo" - particularly moved me:
While it would be easy to be cynical about the "concrete capital of the North" I have to say that it was somewhat humbling. A little reminder perhaps of our
insignificance, the bigger picture and of course the fact that I'm a city girl
who is moved by giant grey slabs.