Richard Toon recalls his first taxi ride into Manhattan forty years ago, and a kind driver who had been around the block a few times.
I love how time dissolves in the final passage, how the language swirls place, memory, relationships and music into one bottomless moment. Thank you!
Great piece. It's always interesting to hear of people's first reactions to NYC. (I am a native fifth-gen New Yorker.) In Arizona and other intermountain west states, I meet baby boomers who had terrible first visits in the 1970s and got such a very bad opinion of the city that they never came back and say things like, "How can you be from New York? You're not rude and obnoxious like everyone I came across there." I've lived all over, and to me, New Yorkers are the nicest people in the U.S. -- people like Richard's cab driver, who sounds like some of my friends' fathers who drove taxis back then.
I love this Richard Toon! My favorite NYC memory is heading there for the weekend with my Mom in early 1972 as an 8th Grader. We got off on the bus at Greyhound and began walking with our suitcases to our hotel (The Roosevelt) up 42nd Street. It was an eye-opening experience. Cheers to you! Are you still in the U.S. or have you returned to the United Kingdom?
Wonderful layering of looking back at a time in the past and evoking the feelings of that person then and also sharing how the narrator feels now, in the moment of recollecting. Why some memories stick and others fade is also the subject and mystery.
Great memory. The cafe at the Hotel Edison was a very cool place though :)
Lovely evocative writing - another city ruined by money. I'm particularly glad to find your piece as it it took me back to my first trip to NYC in February 1974 which was magical - and which I shall now find space for in End of the Line.
Love the cab driver and Buddy Rich Big Band checking in at the hotel. The hotel scene--the music, all of it like a Hopper painting in words. I am happy to be one of your ex-NYC country neighbors.
Loved the story of your cab ride, how lucky you were to have had that cabbie! 😉🙂
I was going to read the article later and about to delete the email, then I caught the taxi driver's advice. I went back to the beginning and read the entire essay. Needless to say, it made me smile and sent me back to my many memories of New York City, and of New Yorkers ...
Thanks Richard, for sharing your memory and sentiment!
NYC has fallen: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/escapefromnewyork