Visiting New York, For the Zillionth Time.

Posted on
Jun 18, 2012

The trips, after a while, blur together.

That’s awful to say, but it’s true. The first time you visit a city is like the first time you kiss the love of your life. You remember every single detail: the shirt you wore, the walk home from the restaurant, the smell of winter in the air. It’s so clear that if you were to recreate it again from only your memory, you could do a fairly good job (but maybe you’d remember your skin as being clearer than it was and your hair bouncier, and who’s to say it wasn’t?).

If you are lucky, more kisses come, as do more trips. And while the first one remains crystal clear and special in your mind, recollections of the subsequent ones start to get a little murky.

I don’t remember the fifth time Rand and I kissed, or the third time we visited London or New York together.

I realize how privileged I am to spend so much time on the road, that one trip gets muddled with the next one, that hotels start to feel familiar, that I notice when the sushi restaurant in Newark Airport gets a new owner.

I struggle to keep them straight in my head, trying to remember what made this last trip unique. We visited New York last month, and even now, I press my fingers against my temples in a vain attempt to keep that last journey distinct from the ones that preceded it.

On this last trip, there was an abysmally bad skywriter:

It either says “L J ( @” or something in Cyrillic.

And we found a wind-up toy pig that may have been part of an installation at a Chelsea gallery.

Or it may have just been a wind-up toy pig that someone had left there to mess with all the folks who don’t understand modern art (myself included). I told Rand that we needed to grab a bunch of small wind-up toys and release them in art museums.

I bet days would pass before anyone would realize they weren’t supposed to be there.

On this last trip, we walked along The Highline in the blazing sun like I’ve done a few times before.

There was the view from my little brother-in-law’s new apartment in Brooklyn.

And the look on my husband’s face when he saw it.

You might not remember every part of every trip. You might not remember every single kiss you give the twinkly-eyed boy or girl you fell in love with. And that’s okay.

Some memories will be lost to time and the imperfection of human memory. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revisit a place. It doesn’t mean you should stop grabbing your loved one and kissing them in the middle of Times Square, even if you’ve done it dozens of times before.

Because even after the 27th time, it’s still stupidly awesome. And every now and then, there will be one – one kiss, one visit, one moment – that you absolutely can’t get out of your head, no matter how many years have passed.

Leave a Comment

  • Great post! I often struggle with the desire to return to a favorite destination versus the thrill of visiting some place new.

  • I completely get that! You can feel crazy with guilt when you start to feel “meh, been there”…but then you pull back for a second and remind yourself that the experience and ability to travel is enough! Blazed-in-your-retina’s memories are a bonus! Great post!

  • Chris

    I noticed this myself when I spent the past weekend in Washington, DC. Actually, I should say I spent the weekend in Arlington, VA, because the only thing we did in DC was go to the National Zoo, and that only because it’s the only free attraction that I hadn’t gone too multiple times ad nauseum. Despite that, DC will always be associated with the memory of the first time I saw the Jefferson Memorial, or the time I discovered that I was allergic to cherry blossoms.

  • I have to agree with cosmoHalliton, but sometimes you just have to return to the same destination and yes there will always be something new 🙂

  • Jane Babich

    Yes you are blessed to be able to visit and revisit many places. You are blessed to kiss and kiss and kiss again the love of your life. Remember although the place is repeated or the kiss is repeated; you are not repeating, because you are constantly changing as a result of the privilege to revisit or kiss again.
    When you enter into a place you have been before… it is not a repeat… it is the first time you as you stand at that moment are visiting.
    When you kiss your love, it is never the same, it cannot be repeated because love is always growing and changing within the hearts of you and Rand.
    Go, enjoy, visit again and definitely kiss again… and again… and again because you are blessed!

  • Great post as usual! I hope I can take some time to notice new details each time I return to favorite cities and vacation spots.

  • Samuel Lynn-Evans

    Wow, I don’t know why but this post made me all sorts of emotional. Maybe it’s that feeling of accepting that once you’ve done something for the first time, you can never do it again.

    I’d just come across this quote a second ago as well; ‘Take care of your memories, for you cannot relive them’, Bob Dylan,

    …Though then again, I suppose you can always go back to the same place and try and make some similar ones…

  • Tyler

    I agree with this entire post!
    Traveling the world I’ve had many first “kisses” with cities, airports, and country-sides and they all touched me so.

  • koko

    I LOVE NY! Great pics. The High Line soothes me.

  • Dear Everywhereist,
    THANK YOU FOR THIS POST! I’m on the last hurrah of my summer abroad trip and I was super overwhelmed with thoughts regarding my last few precious moments here and my resistance to re-visiting sites and days that turn “ho-hum.” This post cleared my head.
    Sincerely, chloe-michelle

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • When People Are Nice To Me, I Find It Profoundly Confusing: The Geraldine DeRuiter Story.

We had a lovely dinner with some folks based here in Quebec, and they also gave me cupcakes, and it was all lovely and confusing because I am a nightmare of a human.
  • I went to a stunning library in Quebec City today - the Maison de la litterature was once an old church, and now it is full of books and winding staircases.
  • He complained that we were old, and I told him that we had maybe five more minutes of being young and beautiful, so let's enjoy them. Here they are.
  • It's below freezing in Quebec, and I'm fairly certain everything is haunted, but people are politely enduring my terrible French and there is poutine everywhere, so ... win?
  • Just rummaged through my office, looking for a notebook so I could write down some ideas for my next big project. I opened up this one and found a handwritten draft of the intro to my last book. #thisisagoodsignright
  • Look, just because I rolled a snickerdoodle in curry powder doesn't mean I'm a domestic goddess. Domestic demigoddess? Maybe.
  • Bye-bye, San Diego. It's been ... surprisingly cold, actually. But thanks for the Vitamin D.
  • That'll do, San Diego. That'll do. #tacotacotaco
  • Why, yes, my PJs do feature a cartoon version on my husband of them.
  • When you forget your keys, and the best houseguest ever brings them to you (but makes sure you aren't going to live this down.)

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.