People who love New York City often have a very specific time they link to their love affair. My own love affair with New York was born shortly after I was -- in the 1970s. I was born and raised in green-grassed, white-picket-fenced Connecticut. My parents met when they lived a block away from each other on the Upper East Side. Actually, they met in the Poconos on a bus trip, then discovered they lived a block away from each other. Once they were married, they moved to the suburbs, but they loved to get back to the city as often as possible.
My brothers and I spent many Saturdays sitting on the back bench in the wood paneled station wagon, watching Connecticut disappear as we made our way downtown. It was always the same routine: round the bend on the Bruckner, under the overpass where vandals had spray painted "Viva Puerto Rico," down the East Side Drive, double park on Canal Street, watch my dad play bumper cars when he finally found a parking space, wait while my mother haggled with a jeweler over a watch repair or a new pair of earrings. Then we would stop on the way back uptown to see my aunt or godparents, pick up some baklava at the bakery, and head back to the burbs. Sigh. Those were the days, my friend.
For anyone who really enjoys history of New York, I suggest a great read called The Devil's Playground. Back in the 70s, Times Square was the infamous pit of smut. No one went to Times Square unless they were lost or looking for sex. Now, it's a filth-free tourist attraction. My husband and I just took a last minute trip to NYC. The only hotel we could find online at a moment's notice was the Milford Plaza on Eighth Avenue. As I was falling asleep the evening before our trip, a little jingle started taking form inside my brain.
I woke up the next morning and started furiously googling to see if I could find what my five-year-old brain had managed to lock away and was trying to tell me.
Anyone from the tri-state area remember this?
After I walked down memory lane for a few minutes, another one popped into my head.
I immediately took to my Facebook wall to share some great television memories with my New York contingent of friends. People began posting their video memories as well.
For those of us who grew up in New York, New Jersey or Connecticut, we were five years old again -- if only for a few minutes. And even though I had never been to the Milford Plaza as a child, when we stayed there last week it felt comfortable. Sort of like visiting an old friend from kindergarten.