Arrived 1995 My arrival to New York, now that I reflect on it, was punctuated by several events that when I'm coaxed into telling the tale, tend to somewhat agitate and anger my single friends. I don't even know what to make of it anymore, truthfully, other than it was what it was. I arrived to New York through New Jersey by way of the Midwest where I'd been born, raised and went to college. The lure of the City for me was mostly predicated on my first and only NYC experience a few years before when a group of friends and I drove through the night from our home in Ohio and arrived coming around the curve of the interstate to face a rising sun over the city, the vaulting towers of the World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty. Once in the city, we crashed at a cousin's apartment and went out that night to the Crow Bar where I had my first experience in a back room. We packed up the next day and headed back to Ohio but I was hooked.
I didn't hesitate when I decided to leave my first post-college job and journey east, trying to get to New York to start my sailor-in-every-ort slutting phase. My work got me as far as Jersey wehre I landed on a Saturday morning, dropped my meager belongings off at my corporate travel housing and headed into the city to meet up with the self-same cousin from the weekend adventure a few years before, for a party he'd invited me to that night.
That party turned out to be a pre-Black Party hosted by his friend. It was at that party, on my very first night in the Big City where I was going to be dangerous and hedonistic and Gay, that I was introduced to a nice, attentive, boy going to NYU for graduate school. We attended the Black Party together, making the most of the upstairs play area until at one point I turned to tell him I was spent and needed to take a break when he answered, "Honey, those aren't my hands."
Who knows whatever possessed him to offer his number in the glaring sun of that next Sunday morning as we left the Roseland Ballroom. Nor can I say whatever possessed me to actually call him later that day. All I know is we started dating heavily that very week, always with the anticipation that I would be leaving after a few months, heading on to my next temporary contract in another city, onto other adventures and sailors.
My arrival story is such that it is irrevocably entwined with the story of falling in love. Fifteen years later, that first boy became my boyfriend, then my partner, and now my husband, still together after that very first night of the 1995 Black Party. There was no moving off to other ports or other sailors at all. There was a quick shacking-up and permanent NYC job, a few summer shares in the Pines, and now full days with great friends, careers, and still plenty of exploring and adventuring in New York City for us both.
(Picture is author's. Taken at the WWII Monument in Washington DC, March 2010)