Back To My New Home

I just got back to Saint Louis from a last minute whirlwind trip to New Jersey and New York for a photo shoot. It was the first time I have been back to the east coast since we arrived in Saint Louis, and it certainly was an interesting experience for me. It was great to be back in the NYC, area especially on a gig – it is always great to be working. The shoot was in New Brunswick, so I flew into LGA and drove a rental to Jersey on Tuesday night, woke up very early on Wednesday morning for the shoot, and then managed to swing into Manhattan for a very short visit Wednesday afternoon. I got to see a few of my friends and have a few drinks at my old local. I even ran into one of my other friends who I hadn’t expected to see while in Union Square while I was eating a Salty Pimp ice cream cone from the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. A city of 8 million people and I run into someone I know an hour after I get there. Go figure.

For all the friends I didn’t get to see: I’m sorry I missed you and I will try to have a little more advanced warning the next time I come into the city so I can plan meet-ups with all of you. I miss you dearly and can’t wait to see you again.

Studio Windows at Sunset

It was kind of a surreal experience, going back to the city as visitor for the first time, and not as a resident. In a lot of ways New York will always be “the city” in my life, no matter where I live, but being tossed back into if after a prolonged absence gives me a little bit better of a perspective on how the bewildered tourists feel. After the relative relaxed lifestyle I’ve enjoyed in Saint Louis, the first couple hours in Manhattan were stressful and shocking. The people, the noise, the speed. Even though the heat and humidity are similar to Saint Louis this week, it seemed hotter on the teeming avenues as I inched along in my rental car trying to get to the rental agency to return it.

Returning the car was the first step to getting myself normalized as a New Yorker again. It wasn’t long before I’d re-acclimated and was squeezing onto the 6 train at rush hour and dodging traffic in the East Village like I’d never been away. After some Thai food, the ice cream in the park and a few cocktails I nearly forgot that I didn’t live there any more. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t going to walk home to my apartment; I was going to take a plane back to my new home.

And so now I’ve returned to my lovely and spacious studio, tired and dehydrated from my whirlwind tour, but I’m happy to be back. Saint Louis is really growing on me. Even though an anonymous commenter on STL Rising said recently “when someone from new york says good things about st. louis it’s time to burn it down” everyone I have met in Saint Louis has been wonderful and friendly. The lady and I are settling in nicely. I feel like we’ve moved to the downtown area at a time when all sorts of exciting things are happening. We are happy that we can do our part for our new neighborhood by supporting new businesses in walking distance rather than driving to big box stores and by staying in tune with neighborhood events. I feel that my New York City philosophy of urban living fits nicely with the philosophy of downtown Saint Louis.

I will always miss New York, and I treasure the few hours in the city when I can get them, but the sadness I feel when I leave again is tempered by the thought that I’m heading back to my new home, and as homes go, this is a pretty good one.

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