Editor's Letter: February 2018
Letting go, often times, is imperative to our success. We readily hear about temporary ‘breaks’ in relationships, people going their separate ways only to find themselves ultimately back together after some time apart; while reflecting on ideas for this month’s letter I had a revelation— does that theory also apply to home? What happens when the place you reside, domicile or zip code, no longer assuages the needs that it once met for you?
After a could-have-been-worse slip on a patch of ice this past weekend, I cancelled my first trip back to Manhattan since our move in October— missing a major event I was really looking forward to and the opportunity to see my local friends after too long. Erick still made the venture to check in at work— naturally, I was greatly disappointed I wouldn’t be making the trip too.
Dejected and lamenting, on this late-start Monday, I tuned into the new episode of Reveal; a podcast that I enjoy immensely. The episode featured journalist, Steve Fishman, who is also the owner of Erv’s on Beekman in Brooklyn, discussing Bernie Madoff— a tale that has always fascinated me no matter how many times I hear about it.
It begins at Erv’s—where I’ve imbibed with friends; next, moves to Madoff’s notorious ‘lipstick building’ office— just steps away from the home of the private school kids I spent two years worth of weekday evenings with; and then the connection to Madoff himself — time spent with his teenage granddaughter, a close friend of my employer’s child, at a too-soon-stonewalled style start up in an immaculate Upper East Side apartment.
Listening to their journey through the boroughs brought back so many unexpected memories of these places over the seven years I spent living there. Yet, after a brief moment of melancholy, I realized— you still walk away with all that you’ve learned when something doesn't fit anymore, and it doesn’t mean it may not fall back together, as a better experience, in the future.
Alas, moments later, a lovely stroke of acknowledgement from the Universe near the end of the episode, Fishman noted in front of Madoff’s old headquarters,
“There are times when that respectable façade, it just melts away.”
And that's true for anything. It’s the moment we get smart; the second we know better. When instead of sticking around after there is nothing left for us, we have the courage to take a hard left as opposed to continuing straight ahead.
One weekend, right before we left our neighborhood, we happened to pass the former New York Cancer Hospital for the first time, a haunting, behemoth in West Harlem, that I couldn’t believe we’d never seen before. Intrigued, I came home and began researching it; uncovering a New York Times profile from 2005 by Jim Rasenberger— who explains,
“As anyone who has lived in New York longer than a few weeks knows, the past is easily discarded in this city. Buildings change, their contents shift, and eventually just about everybody who knew what was once where forgets or dies.”
“Those who wish to seize the day may go ahead and seize it. Those who care to see the ghosts are free to see them. In a great old building like the castle, there is room for both the living and the dead.”
Sometimes, when life goes on without hesitation when you leave myriad situations, you really feel it. As such, it, too, seems human nature to hold on to the shadows of ‘departed’ experiences with continued hopefulness— an ellipsis on an expired relationship; a vogue transformation for a creepy, centenarian infirmary; the ghost of my own old, urban existence that I haven’t quite exorcised.
Yet, as we navigate the unknown ahead, it’s imperative to remember we’re given privilege to embrace each day as it exists; one, which when brave enough, we can curate to be just right for us— even when we’re steadfast to relive the past or accurately predict the fastidiousness of the future.