Start spreading the news,
I’m leaving today. . .
Yes, it’s officially my last day on the job today. On Friday, we leave town.
There are some things that we’ll miss about the city. The selection of cheeses, for example. The law libraries. The restaurants. The bagels. And a hundred other things. Most of all, we’ll miss the friends that we’ve made here, as we’ve lived in the city for the past seven years.
There are also some things that we won’t be missing. The city’s extremely hardy cockroaches and rodents, for instance. The subway stations in the summer, as they slowly turn into saunas. All manner of strange people on the subways — odd preachers of unidentified religions, smelly wanderers asleep on the benches, the fellow who thinks he’s Jay-Z and raps along loudly with his iPod. And of course, cross-town traffic, the cross-bronx expressway, and those ninety-minute waits to pay the $1.20 toll at the New Jersey turnpike.
San Diego will be fun in its own right. There will be things that we don’t see in the city — ranch dressing, free soda refills, decent Mexican food. And warm beaches, of course. And the sun. We’ll enjoy those sights.
But we’ll still miss New York.
I’m not sure exactly where this is going, so I’ll close with a few lines from Whitman:
Now I am curious what sight can ever be more stately and admirable to me than my mast-hemm’d Manhattan,
My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edg’d waves of flood-tide,
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight, and the belated lighter;
Curious what Gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as I approach;
Curious what is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face,
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you.
. . .
Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me;
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta! — stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress!
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it!
. . .
Thrive, cities! bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and sufficient rivers;
Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual;
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting.