My ultimate crush: An ode to NYC

Quote: One can’t paint New York as it as, but rather as it is felt- Georgia O’Keefe

Valentine’s Day in Taiwan, not relevant, which is a breath of fresh air. Chinese New Year is in full effect. Stores and restaurants are closed, the streets are quiet, and it’s peaceful. Loving it.

 

NYC has been heavy on my mind since the news of Ricky Powell, famed photographer of the Greenwich Village, passed last week.

Ph: Ricky Powell

I was flipping through Facebook when I see a video- A Tribe Called Quest- Electric Relaxation. Ahhhhhh!

 

So many memories of my ultimate crush- NYC. My love began as a child. Growing up, my family would make a yearly trip to go Christmas shopping. In the 80’s NYC was grimy, full of passion and pain.

As I got older, the city pulled me into its bosom. NYU was calling me for graduate school. I remember wanting to go there so bad; I called them every day acquiring about being admitted. Then one day, I got the news, I got in!

My journey to moving to the city was bumpy at first. My grandmother was sick, and I had a sense I wouldn’t see her again. Unfortunately, I found out that she passed away during my first week living in NYC

My favorite memory at NYU- Walked into lecture and looked around at the students in the front of the class. I saw these young women dressed up looking too bougie for my liking. As I walk past them, I saw this woman in the back with a big afro. I took a seat next to her. Yes! 

 

  • What’s your name?
  • My name is Beth. I’m from Philly. 

 

This woman is still in my life, and we made such a good team at the school. She’s a fantastic writer and continues to be. She would write, I would research and we were a sensational team.

NYC-  The story of my life, living one way by day and another by night. Daytime- student and nanny. Nighttime- Girlfriend to a hip-hop DJ, partying it up with artists, models, and entertainers. It’s crazy when I look back at it.

 

As a gay woman living this life in the 1990s, it was difficult. My ex could not live the way she was living and DJ. Society wouldn’t accept us. I was constantly introduced as, “ … my assistance’s friend.” I didn’t realize how damaging that was to my psyche. The crazy thing was, I saw many gay scenarios going on behind the curtain of the illusion. I would never mention names, but I could write a book on my experiences

 Unfortunately, this behavior of being “the friend” happened more than once with NYC women. I was terrific to have at home, but not out in public. Looking back, I kept it to myself and lived the life of an extravagant girlfriend behind-the-scenes at the hottest clubs, fashion shows, and Hampton parties in the summer. Thinking about it just made it worse and I spiraled at night, drinking a lot to hide my pain. When it came to my daily life, I kept it together. I was on my game, nannying and getting that academic work done. It was crazy! I killed it at NYU, graduating with a 3.8 GPA.

 

Just as fast as I got to NYC, I left. Grad school over, time to go off to home, then California and back home. NYC always creeps back into my life. Met a dancer in the late 2000s and we became a couple.

  • Do you have connections in NYC?

Next thing I knew we were off to the city. I’m right back in my old life. Partying with athletes, rappers, and entertainers. My ex was very naive to NYC and its “rotten apple ways.” That innocence made her desirable and so much money. 

 

I know some people have their opinions about women dancing and I respect everybody’s views. Most scenarios for dancers are not like my exes and I understand that.  Personally, I will never look down on dancers. People have their reasons for doing what they do. I met some amazing women in the clubs. I had unbelievable conversations with them and these women were talented. The poles at this particular club were like two stories high and to see these women making acrobatic moves was beautiful. I looked at their work as art. In this club, the ladies were taken care of and it was all good. The DJ was pumping his music, the food was on point, and my baby was making money. She looked at this as strictly business and didn’t get caught up in the drama. Because of this, she made a lot of money, could buy a car and put away money.

After we broke up, I didn’t go to the city much, but it’s always in my mind. It was a big part of my life for such a long time and that’s something that never goes away, especially after living there. So many more stories but the point is the city is crazy and my relationship with it is just like a crush. 

 

You go through ebbs and flows, you’re infatuated, then that fades, you look at it from afar, admire what you went through, and sometimes it sucks you back in. 

 

I’ll never regret my NYC crush. It made me resilient and appreciative for the life lessons.

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