In the Fall of 2002 I was barely out of college, aimlessly hanging out in Brevard County where most of my maternal relatives reside. Not much was going on there besides the beach, which I was overly willing to exchange for Seattle, a city that had beckon
ed me since I had visited one summer in high school.
But first this Jersey girl needed one last trip back to the great northeast, to Dover, DE (the college town I had recently abandoned) on up to NYC for the first anniversary of 9/11.
My cousin Sara was almost done at UF and I invited her along for the road trip. She had never been to New York, and I was on a mission to be the best tour guide I could be (despite the fact that on a previous tour I had mistaken the Staten Island ferry for the one that goes to the Statue of Liberty).
Our mothers and aunts were terrified for us, two 20-something, flip-flop footed Florida girls on the streets of New York. I didn't tell them that the only hotel we could afford was a hostel just
south of Harlem...which not only ended up being clean and decent, but happened to be swarming with the crew of L&O as we checked in. It was almost more than a recent graduate of media arts could handle. (And of course later relaying the story of seeing the back of Sam Waterston's head went a long way towards my family forgiving me for taking my innocent (ha!) cousin on a 1,000 mile journey from home).
The rest of the trip played out brilliantly for us tourists: we walked a lot, ate great food, did yoga in Central Park after passing Dustin Hoffman. We got lost in the crowd of the 9/11 parade and were offered love by a lady sitting on a stool holding a sign for free hugs. It was the first time I had ever been to New York when pedestrians eagerly looked one another in the eyes.
Is it nutty that I think of this point in time when I think of Law & Order? Eh, who cares? Sometimes American culture, as interwoved as it is with TV, ain't so bad. (Although I'll probably not agree with that statement tomorrow.)
Photo credits: places in New York I can no longer name, a blonde me on a rock in Central Park, my brother Ed and cousin Sara visiting in Willingboro, NJ