Good Bye NYC!
May 18, 2009
It is not easy to scribe you this letter, then again, saying good-bye has never been easy for me. I sit here in my Fifth Floor walk-up listening to John Coltrane’s famous song, In A Sentimental Mood. How appropriate…because when I’m in need of a New York moment I throw this song on. When Coltrane plays I’m quickly transported to your bustling streets, my quiet morning runs in central park, and to my rooftop overlooking Harlem. So as of today, New York, this is our song. Honestly, how can we not have a song after a 15 year relationship? Wink!
New York, saying good-bye after 15 years makes me rather pensive. You have taught me so much about life, the world, the arts, friendship, and me. Everyday you presented me with something new: a life lesson, a new restaurant, a new friend, an old lost friend, and of course a party for good measure. Yes, New York, you were everything they said you were in the brochures and more. I drank the New York City cool-aid and loved the flavor so much that I kept drinking it year after year.
People have tried to capture you in poems, books, and movies. But between you and me, New York, they never do you justice. The beat of the express train as it races downtown at high speeds to the hustle and bustle of Lower-Manhattan is something you can only understand and enjoy by riding a packed train during rush hour. The games one plays while on that train to pass the time are fun too! I like to play the game, What Stop? A simple game where you pick what stop you think a person is going to get off at. The Suit, he’s going to Wall St. The young 23 year old recent graduate who dresses in the latest fashions in Vogue, she’s going to 42nd Street, The Conde Nast Building.
Yet, New York, as great and fantastic as you have been the New York City experience couldn’t have been possible without my crew. And although this is a good-bye letter to you, New York, I feel I have to give them some shout outs!
You have been my best friend during this incredible run. To be honest, I never really had a best friend until you came into my life and I thank you for that experience. I lack the proper writing skills and vernacular to express my deepest love and appreciation for your friendship. In the end, what I can say is you have been my rock, my shoulder to lean on, and the one person who has always believed in me. Thank you, Cucks.
Hey, Compadre. If there is someone who embraces the greatness that is New York City it is you. I remember the night we sat on the roof of the library and you pointed to the New York skyline and said, “This is why I came to Columbia…the world is here, Joaquin.” Church!!! You have been a true friend, a roommate, an ear when I’ve needed to vent, a fellow Cowboys fan, a boxing junkie like me, and of course a great person to grab “One Drink” with. Gracias por todo, Compa.
John (The General),
Juanito. Tell Sloan I said, what up? My crime partner in the city…I know you are an atheist and I respect that, bro. But I think my main man upstairs, JC, put you in my life for a reason. I can’t express to you how important your friendship has been to me all these years. You have a heart of gold and I’m always impressed how you are able to navigate between so many circles and to be loved by them all. If anyone ever asks you, Juanito, what is your best characteristic? Make sure to say this, “John Lee is a fiercely loyal friend.” Gracias por todo, General.
Daniel, Un gran abrazo, Primo. To the man who has pushed me for years to get out of the city. I write to notify you, “I’m finally leaving.” You will of course respond with, “I need to see you on the plane first…send me a picture.” A photo will be sent. LOL! D, you have showed me that life can pass you by very fast and you have to love it everyday. “Sucking the marrow out of the bone of life one day at a time” best describes how you approach life. The last minute trips to Vegas, driving in vicious snowstorms to watch Mana and our famous Sunday margarita fiestas; you truly love life, Bro. I feel blessed to have learned this lesson from you and I’m putting that lesson into action now. Gracias.
Papa, Mami y Elena,
Being away from you three has not been easy. You are my blood and never does a day pass by that I don’t think of you three. And know that not a day passes that I don’t understand and fully appreciate all the sacrifices you three have made for me to be here. Gracias, Familia.
New York, some people have come with the idea that they will beat you, only to go back to their hometowns defeated and humbled. We have had our share of battles with one another along the way…I have won some and lost many. The battle scars inflicted on me by you I don’t see as scars of failure. On the contrary, I see them as scars of growth, resilience, and they’re scars which I needed to acquire in order to grow. It is on this little island that demons from my past have been killed and some have been born. New York, know I leave you fulfilled, happy, and in peace with no traces of bitterness.
In closing, these tears I shed are tears of extreme happiness and of extreme sadness mixed together. I’m not too proud to state; it hurts me deeply to be leaving you and I’m thankful you have let me call you home for so long. Also, know that your are the reason that this boy who arrived 15 years ago on a Tower Air Flight with 100.00 bucks in his pocket has grown into a man who leaves with a wealth of experience in life. Thank you, New York and I will always love you.
Joaquin Manuel Ochoa
Post Script – I will be having a going away/birthday party this Friday if you want to stop buy and have a drink with me before my departure.
7 Rivington Street
9:00pm – till the lights come on.