It was a warm fall day in New York and I was headed that evening to the last Friday night Mets game of the season. I had just bought some postcards at McNally Jackson, and was waiting to head uptown and meet a friend for happy hour and then ballpark fun.
The postcard is one of many New York City postcards I own. I have a wall in my apartment with New York City postcards. In my postcards box categories, I have “Places” and then I have “New York-Color” and “New York-B/W.” The city is so photogenic without even trying. Or maybe the city has mastered the art of trying-but-not-trying.
I collect New York postcards because they remind me of the city. I look for pictures that offer me a different view of New York other than the sanitized, tourist version. In those postcards I try to look at New York from another point of view. I try to learn the city and bring it with me, like a traveler who brings a postcard home. Me, I bring a piece of home so I can stay in touch with it.
I ventured downtown, to a bookstore my sister in law recommended, killing time before happy hour. I was looking to spend some time looking for postcards, as I tend to do lately. I went to NYC to get away for a while, recharge my emotional and creative energy. I couldn’t ignore what was going on in my head, but I also needed to find my way back to the things that sustain me emotionally. Self-care.
I took the 6 to Bleeker Street. I then walked to McNally Jackson and found this postcard, with a photograph by Genevieve Hafner.
The image is black, with the words POST NO BILLS spray-painted onto a wall. Through a hole in the fence, you can see some buildings and the Empire State Building. Or is it the Chrysler? I can’t tell. I guess that shows what kind of a New Yorker I am: the kind that doesn’t live in New York.
I couldn’t stay at the bookstore to read and write. The tables were full and my iPhone battery was almost dead. I made my way to the Apple Store a few blocks west, charged my phone, and wrote a little in the clean, white, shiny, loud Apple Store until it was time to head uptown to Harlem.
Sometimes I am a tourist in my birthtown.