Soul Land

I was born in New York City, on Park Avenue in Lenox Hill hospital. They day I was to go home, there was a blizzard. My father was drinking at the Stork Club, and was not sober enough to battle the weather, so Ā the hospital nurse piled my mother and baby me into a yellow taxi, and off we went to 93rd and West End Avenue.

I took my first steps on West End Avenue; I got sexuallly assaulted in our apartment on West End Avenue, and again, a few years later, in an elevator run by a doorman in my best friend’s building on Riverside Drive. I smoked pot at a bar by Columbia University. I went to The Nutcracker at Lincoln Center. I had drinks at the Oak Room of the now-Trumped Plaza Hotel. We once had Thanksgiving dinner at the Carlyle. On my tenth work anniversary, my former corporate employer gave me a Tiffany clock, and when I finally resigned from the crazy publishing business, they gave me a diamond Tiffany bracelet.

New York in those days was heady, dangerous, thrilling and exhausting. And its citizens were arrogant. Always in a rush. Fast taxis, fast subway trains, except when everything would come to a screeching halt, due to an accident or too much traffic; then everyone erupted with swear words, the middle finger, and a level of frustration that over time seemed perfectly normal to me. I had no idea how much the ethos and culture of Manhattan had shaped me, my thoughts, my anxieties, my work ethic and my spirituality.

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