I begged you to take me to Canal and Bowery, just like the song. As we stood on the unassuming corner, I was disappointed by how lackluster the spot actually was. As an NYC native, you explained that it actually is just a scummy place people catch the cheapest busses to their next destination. You took my hand and led me just a little past the intersection to Chinatown. I had been there once as a child, but you showed me its bright lights and palpable energy through a new lens. I found myself falling in love with the way you picked up the dried sea urchins, and smelled each kind of dried mushroom to find the perfect one. As the snow began to fall on the unbelievably frozen streets, you pulled me into an alley where a local was taking out the trash from a restaurant, and kissed me until I wasn’t cold anymore. In the middle of a city I thought I knew so well, you brought me into a world I had no idea existed.
My train into the city has a stop at Bowery. It’s dejected and only one person, if even that many, gets on the train there. But even on February’s coldest mornings, I am infused with warmth as the train momentarily stops for ghosts. And I think what might have been if we took one of those cheap buses to our next destination.