Writing Life

New York! New York!

We took the kids to New York City…Manhattan to be exact. For seven nights and eight days, we pretended we were living in one of our favourite places in the world. Thank you AirBNB for the home we stayed in. It was our second time in the big apple as a family. The kids were quite young – 4 and 6, if my memory serves me, but it impacted them enough that they wanted to return. For Jett, his young soul fell in love and he decided then that he wanted to live in New York. As he grew up, his dreams expanded into not only living there, but to attending NYU film school. (Is your pocketbooks hiding in a corner? Mine is.) I suppose attending the school would give him a solid experience of living there.

So one of the reasons we returned to the city was to go on a tour of the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. Oh, it was something!

We also did a tour of NBC and had the chance to go into the SNL studio and the Jimmy Fallon studio. That was pretty darn cool. NBC. Golly, this woman used to dream of working on SNL as a crew member…and eventually as a writer. Can you believe it? Perhaps some of that dream moved into Jett through DNA. It’s possible.

For me, the trip was a time to dust off the old camera (a Nikon D90…a dinosaur!) and take photographs. Also, I really wanted to go to The Strand Bookstore.

And yes, to be with the family in this now – at these ages, at these stages of our lives. It was a very different trip than the first one, but no less exciting, exhausting and magical.

My camera lens was drawn to shoes. To art. To people. To dogs. To horses. And so, here is a visual story of our trip in photographs.


For these photos, I kept my head down and my camera at my hip. If I saw a cool pair of shoes, I aimed and hoped for the best! I got a load of photos of the naked sidewalk. But certainly, with all the walking that everyone does in New York City, footwear interests me very much.


Dogs! Dogs! Everywhere dogs! We missed our dogs toooo much on this trip! And everywhere we looked there were dogs! I did my best to capture dogs walking, sniffing, and you know, being dogs!


I’ll admit that at least twice a day, I had a chest-tightening moment when there were just too many people around me. I felt panic in my body like flashes of fuzzy heat, worrying about the kids…and making sure to pay attention to what was happening around us. There were some subway rides when we were body-upon-body and I felt sweaty with anxiety and fear. With news of fast-spreading viruses and escalating conflicts around the world, I was addicted to hand-sanitizer and breathing through narratives in my mind of scary things that could happen to the thousands of people around us all the time.

Alas, I could also hear a pretty, soft, calm voice in my head reminding me that we are all just people. Walkers. Workers. Worriers. And to pay attention to what makes us unique can be exciting, humbling and love-building. I saw many people kissing, embracing or simply making physical contact with one another. It was beautiful. I saw people helping, giving, and sharing. New York is a poem alive. Stories reverberating in every step and sound.


Seems to me that everything is art! I adored all the graffiti, the stickers, the life of expression in so much of what I saw. From typos on signs, to patterns in flooring, to architecture, pens, crafts and garbage, art was everywhere. I especially loved the wall of pink roses!


Horses rule the cobblestone. They seemed so calm…and aware. I loved photographing them. The squirrels were plump and punchy. And, we saw one white dove in a sea of colourful others.


We love movies and New York City is a movie master! So many places we’ve seen on the screen came to life before our eyes, but the place we most wanted to see was in the Bronx. There is a stairwell there that Joaquin Phoenix danced down in the film ‘The Joker’. Jett absolutely needed to go there and take his place on the step too. We weren’t the only ones visiting this new film location, but we managed to get some photos of Jett alone on the stairs…doing his Joker dance.


Of course I couldn’t resist the poet for hire! His name is Marshall James Kavanaugh and he is a real-life traveling poet for hire! He’s traveled across the world writing poems on demand and participating in poetry readings and slams. He is a poetry brother! He wrote us a poem on the theme of ‘education’, and he let me take some photos of him.



The hubby loves to play chess so we went to Washington Square park where people play. He played a man in a five-minute fast game (sorry, that’s probably not the correct terminology!). It was a good game. We chatted with the fellow who played and his life story was book-worthy. Two degrees. Two PhDs. Travels across the world. Had to claim political refugee status, and his hope is to return to Toronto for work where friends are waiting for him. Toronto Ontario Canada. Wild.

I took some photos of Jett in this land of dreams. I can barely believe he’ll be starting high school in September…and that it’s very possible he will one day live in this behemoth of a city. I guess I’m moving to New York at some point!

Oh, and yes, that’s a replica of the Zoltar machine from the film ‘Big’ that we saw in FAO Shwartz (the machine, not the film), and the big step-on-it keyboard was there too!

I read two books. I wrote pages and pages in my journal. I took hundreds of photographs. I ate four black and white cookies, none of which I photographed! We watched movies. We ate delicious meals. We walked and walked and walked. And walked.

I do love New York City. It feels different each time I’m able to go, but it’s still a soul city. That is, a city that my soul adores.

4 thoughts on “New York! New York!

  1. Vaness, loved the pix and the travel journal.  Fav pix: the diner booth, pens, books, Queen of Everything and of course Jett.   B&w photos still hold attention.  Long email due in reply to your last.  Glad you liked NYC.  Given a choice I think I’d choose Toronto.  We’ve only spent a few days in NYC: saw a play, the 911 museum, Top of the Rock, Met Museum, rode the tube, Central Park, walked a lot, city tour, good food. Take care, Mark


    1. Thanks Mark! Toronto has a totally different vibe than NYC! I think because it’s so much closer and we’ve been there so many times, NYC is more exciting. For us, anyway! Wow – you guys did a lot when you visited NYC! I haven’t been to the 911 museum. One time, I got near the construction and broke down in tears. I don’t know if I could visit the museum….:( Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting. I look forward to your email!


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