Alumnus of the University of Manhattan

As you may remember from my Carrie Bradshaw post, I was in New York this past weekend.

It felt like a different New York.

It was not my home, but it was also not a place I was visiting as a tourist.

It was something else. Something better. It was like being an alum of the University of Manhattan. I highly recommend to all ex-New Yorkers that they visit their alma mater.

As an alum of the University of Manhattan, you witness all the freshman angst of the people who are actually enrolled in the school. For example, you go to the Met at 8pm on a Friday night. If there are freshmen there (if they've managed to get out of their Humanities 101 class, My Day Job Is My Nemesis), they won't be enjoying the art and the experience as much as you will. Why not? They are distracted. They are in the middle of their Real Lives. They have to get back to their homes, boyfriends, girlfriends, cats, deal with the subway, remember to get tampons, try to stop at the wine store before it closes and not drop the wine when getting a baguette to go with it, get frustrated that they forgot their gym shoes at the office, etc., etc., etc.

You, as an alum, are at the Met to do nothing more than contemplate the sublime.

As you witness the insanity of all these freshmen on the steps of the Met, you'll remember what it felt like, but, thank god, you won't have to live it.

Instead, distinguished graduate, you get to drop in on campus--you certainly know your way around--and soak it all in. Maybe audit a grad class. Eat at your favorite place at the cafeteria. Hang out with other students and alums. Get drunk and not worry about finishing your paper. Feel a bit larger than life.

This privileged position made me want to go back to New York on a regular, but not constant basis. It made me want to be involved in a project where I could take advantage of all that New York has to offer without losing my sanity and my shirt.

Speaking of shirts, I got so into the idea of New York as my alma mater that I almost bought the school's famous jersey, designed by University Graduate Cum Laude Milton Glaser. I stopped myself just in time.

Views: 18

Comment by Laura Rich on November 18, 2009 at 6:36pm
Perhaps I had not been gone long enough -- just eight weeks -- but the city hasn't held the same appeal for me on my own return visit. But that may also be because I am still far more resident than tourist, saddled still with this noisy, tiny studio apartment (since when was it so noisy?) and getting tripped up in the (merciful) untangling of old ties.

I think sometimes you do have to leave a place for an extended period of time to again appreciate what you loved about it once so much. Eight weeks, it seems, is not enough!
Comment by Niki Eways on December 4, 2009 at 1:44pm
i relish my return trips back and jampack them with a hitlist of new restaurants, old faves, meeting friends for tea and lunch on WEEKdays no less (UNHEARD OF while i was living there), and hit the museums and shops when everyone else is at work. i agree, it's wondrous.
Comment by Hermione on December 8, 2009 at 7:18pm
Ah, that's exactly how I feel! Thank God, sort of. I couldn't go back to that, no way... But New York is there, to savour every block of it, that I can do!
Comment by Anna on October 11, 2011 at 11:37pm

Mari, just re-found this post, and it resonated because I was in the city a couple weekends ago. Hanging around the West Village on a Sunday morning, watching other people walk their tiny dogs (there are so many tiny dogs!), wrangle multiple small children on the sidewalk, schlep to the gym, put their trash bags in locked cages, carry 6 bags of groceries... I felt like, "yeah, I get it, but I don't have to DO it any more."

Though, to be honest, if I had ever "graduated" to doing those things in the West Village (i.e. won the lottery), that might not have been so bad... So I have to guess there was still a bittersweetness to it.

Comment by Mari Brown on October 12, 2011 at 12:25pm
love it. trash bags in locked cages.

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