At first, it all seemed to come at me in slow motion. Thoughts moving at the same dazed pace. Friends were heading home. But they’d be right back. Streets emptying. But mindless drivers would soon have me scurrying through crosswalks once again. Subways? Too clean. But the litter and panhandlers would surely pull in at the next station.
This could not be my New York. Down and out. Boarded up. Out of its grit and oxygen. But here we were. No place to get coffee. Nowhere to meet friends. No gym to fire up the day.
Those were the tangible things. But the real emptiness was somewhere else. The elderly lady proudly parading her pugs. The bankers running off their hangovers. The scammers not paying their subway fares. The women who dusted our hallways. All gone.
What wasn’t gone? The days ahead. The months ahead. The interminable year to play out.
But I got lucky along the way: I discovered something stronger than my passion for my company – My maniacal love for this City of New York. I needed to say “thanks”. And in the only way I knew how, I got to work on a bag to honor her. For making it through. For taking me through.
I don’t remember where I read it, but I came upon a few words about “The New York Lenten Rose”. It blooms during Lent and symbolizes rebirth. That was my inspiration. And The New York Rose Tote was born.
No town has come back more than this grey old lady where I live. And in 2021, we will joyfully watch her latest reincarnation.
Hey, my friends are coming back. The subways are picking up. And yesterday, some nut nearly ran me over.
God dammit, I love New York.