The New York of My Dreams

chryslerbuilding

“All Honor’s must hang on top of pointy buildings.”

I knew what it meant.

It was the voice of God.

It was my destiny.

It’s one of my earliest dream memories. I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old.

In the dream, I’m balancing, almost levitating, naked, on my navel in a horizontal position atop the Chrysler Building. Or maybe it was the Empire State. I don’t think I’d ever seen either of them.

In 1998, I moved to New York City from Ireland with my English husband, and our 5 year-old son.

After a month of staying with friends of friends, we moved to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

The commute was brutal, my husband’s support, minimal.

We were getting by, but it was tough.

Not the New York of my dreams.

The New York of my dreams was Manhattan.

I looked into affordable housing on the island, put in an application for a building lottery in Chelsea, and forgot about it.

About a month later, I got a phone call from a man with an Irish accent saying our application had been randomly selected. We would need supporting documentation, but if everything was in order, the place would be ours.

Chelsea is a beautiful neighborhood, with tree-lined streets, and cool cafes. There was a school for our son, right across the street. It was the kind of neighborhood I always wanted to live in. It was the New York of my dreams.

The Irish accent was surely a good-luck sign.

Out of 10,000 applicants, we got first pick of the low-income units available in a luxury mid-rise. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment on the 10th floor, with a lovely view, 24-hour doorman, gym, laundry, and all for less than we’d been paying in Bay Ridge.

Moving day came. The movers we hired were a rough bunch, but their rates were cheap, and money was tight. My son, and I rode in the truck with them.

On our way to Manhattan, we got stuck in traffic. I began to worry that we would go over our agreed upon rate. I couldn’t afford it.

The movers reassured me. It would be fine if we went a little over the hour. Traffic didn’t count. No extra charge.

That was before they saw the new digs.

When we got to the apartment, I could see the change on their faces, the wheels turning in the head mover’s head. It was understandable. The newly constructed building was impressive. Market rate for my apartment was $3,5000 a month. They didn’t know about the building lottery. I didn’t tell them.

The head mover said they would have to charge me for the overtime after all.

Two-faced SOB. I protested.

He came on strong. Got in my face. He was too close.

I touched his shoulder, barely, in a “back off” gesture.

The super was watching in the doorway.

“That’s assault!”, yelled the mover. The guy was no amateur. He knew his charges.

“She touched me! You saw that, right?” he said to the super. “Yeah!” said the super.

Great. Super. Whose side was he on?

Never mind. I could see whose side. They called the cops. Fuck.

When the cops came, I was laying low in the bedroom. They told me to come out. I was scared, and hesitated. They were instantly intense the way cops are when you don’t follow orders pronto. I burst into tears. My 6-year old son followed suit.

I was a horrible mother. I was a hot mess. I was outnumbered.

Even the cops weren’t on my side. They told me to just pay up.

Hire someone better next time.

Thanks, guys.

I went to the nearest ATM, emptied my account, and paid the treacherous opportunists.

Fuming, defeated and ashamed of the drama, I apologized to my son.

My first day in the big leagues, taking my turn at bat, was a bust.

I worried about my marriage. I worried about the super. I worried about my son.

That night, as we watched an awe-inspiring sunset over the Hudson, and ate Chinese, the New York of my dreams felt precarious, vast and vulnerable.

A large Nike ad covered the side of a building facing us.

“Go Deep,” it said.

I knew what it meant.

It was the voice of God.

It was my destiny.

 

About honor finnegan

I'm a singer-songwriter, storyteller, and essayist. Also, a special education itinerant pre-k teacher, Heartfulness meditation trainer, and New Yorker.
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3 Responses to The New York of My Dreams

  1. horvendile2 says:

    Beautiful and deep as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear sister, after reading a several of your blogs, I must say, the way you write touches hearts.

    Liked by 1 person

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