I will never be George Bailey. My tolerance for others and wisdom with money leave a lot to be desired. But we have one thing in common: we’ve both had the punishing desire to run away. Try as he might, George never did manage to follow his dreams out of old Bedford Falls. In the end, that turned out to be a good thing.
I don’t remember being here, yet nothing ever changes here. I’ve spent almost four weeks staying with friends in New York City; it’s almost as if I’ve already moved and settled in. So much has changed in the four-and-a-half years that I’ve been away. Funky neighborhoods have become Establishment while former slums have become exclusive. It’s hard to realize that this is my home.
Before I left NYC in 2003, I knew the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to be somewhat less than a class act. I’m surprised at how short my memory has become during my tenure on the shores of Lake Michigan. Here’s the story of the worst interview I’ve had–or haven’t had–in years.
So I’m GLYNYing again. This past spring, I chronicled the sudden and miraculous Internet reunion of my 1980s cohort of Gay and Lesbian Youth of New York (GLYNY, pronounced ‘GLIH-nee’). The nation’s first-ever gay youth peer support group, GLYNY was founded in New York City in 1969 as a splinter cell of the historic Gay Liberation Front. Back in the day, the group and I were inseparable.
You never know the characters you’ll run into in a Rego Park laundry room. Doing my mid-trip laundry with Jen of the mountainous bosoms, I ran into two of New York City’s most storied types of inhabitant. Neither one of which you can shoo away with a broom.
Catching up with my GLYNY AGAIN reunion friends at Astoria’s Bohemian Beer Garden, the world became smaller than usual. No one expects to learn their long-ago, two-timing, perv boyfriend is the current family physician for an NYC Council candidate. At least he didn’t tell the pol to call him Piglet.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with my Korean foodie friend, (dammit I don’t look like Margaret Cho) Rozella, on the breakwater at Montrose Harbor and ticked off my personal pros and cons surrounding my impending move back home to New York City. After four-and-a-half years in Hogtown, it wasn’t an easy cost-benefit analysis to do, even for a former urban planner like me.
My last Taste of Chicago was definitely the best. Protest though I did last year about Chicagoans’ proclivity to attend the Taste year after year although everyone rants how much it stinks, this being my sunset summer in Chicago, I decided to take one final opportunity to eat lunch over a garbage can.
I get by with a little help from my friends. Wednesday night, sitting with my fellow GLYNY alums, Peter and Barbara, at the bar at Philip Marie in the West Village, I felt the truth of that. The restaurant is catering our GLYNY 20-year reunion event in November. We had come to check out the rumored-legendary fried green tomatoes. It was the first meal I enjoyed from beginning to end since the breakup.
‘It all started way back in April of 2003. I had moved to Chicago to get over NYC’s post-9/11 angst.’ And now, I’m going back home.