Today, I took a ride to New York City where I spent the midafternoon taking pictures of the apartment building where I grew up until the age of 5. The only way I could describe my experience is nothing short of total disappointment. I thought they would have cleaned up the place by now.
Everything is still the same as remember — other than the updated courtyard with the now missing sliding pond, the blue whale and a grey turtle that we used to sit on, and a sprinkler that would keep us cool from those hot summers in the city. What was the worst was the inside the building.
The front door to the main lobby was unlocked and that elevator still opens and closes on its own for no clear reason… that freaked me out. I walked up the stairwell to the second floor and noticed that there was no graffiti on the walls. And I guess they no longer have issues with the homeless sleeping in the stairwells because it didn’t smell of urine, but the stairs were still the color of Battle Ship grey.
As I entered the second floor and looked at the actual door of our apartment with the original slightly rusted metal door knocker still attached that read “2D”, my body started to feel warm. I felt this rush through my body and could hear the pounding of my heart inside my head. It was almost as if my I was lifted off the ground.
I didn’t even feel the floor where I was standing because I was so overwhelmed by the experience and the reality that I was actually standing just a few feet from that door I knew all to well. Then it dawned on me that I was standing on the very spot where those police officers once all stood by the elevator waiting to enter our apartment where they would carry us all out.
I felt like I was a ghost floating above as I watched them take us away. For a moment, but what felt like eternity, it was 1967 all over again. I didn’t expect that to happen. I didn’t think I was going to get so lost in the moment the way I did. So, I took my pictures and left. I thought about taking the elevator but who knows what ghosts were waiting for me inside, so I just took the stairs like I’ve done so many times as a little boy….what was I even thinking of…..