A Bubble Bath Beside the Empire State Building

Emblematic of New York, the Empire State Building was at one point the nation’s tallest skyscraper. I remember visiting it when I was a child, stepping into the tarnished brass of an art-deco elevator and rising to the top of the world. In the dim haze of memory, the day comes back as quite gray and drab, and, indicative of all heights, very windy. Other kids were whispering of stories of pennies dropped from such a height falling with such velocity that they would kill someone if they were to land on their head. I never verified the actual possibility of such a stunt, but I didn’t take a chance by flinging any copper into the air.

On my last night in New York, after a decadent birthday dinner at NoMad and a walk back to the hotel in the midst of a gorgeous midnight hour, I filled the tub with bubble bath and settled in for a long soak. Outside, the Empire State Building winked at me from several long blocks away. Outside, a strong breeze blew along the balcony: the night wind that carried the imminent arrival of fall on its shoulders.

A perfect birthday weekend in New York had come to a close. The next day Andy and I would return by train to Albany, and the magic of the city would be another memory, only this one would be anything but drab and gray.

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