Oh my goodness, if we had it our way we would not have gone to New York City, one of the country’s most expensive cities, on a Nickel (not even a dime) but that’s what we had and that was where we were rolling. And, we rolled in with a bang, taking our rig right down into the heart of the city. Not even sure if we were allowed to but we couldn’t help ourselves.
At one point, Craig said, “Jana! Jump out and get a picture of our bus!” Still in my house clothes and shoeless, I squealed and jumped out, allowing the bus to pass just far enough to capture the shot! Then I raced up the Manhattan street, catching up with our bus and hopped on board. I have to say that running down that street, barefoot, through the massive crowds of people, was one of the more exhilarating things I’ve ever done.
After our jaunt through the city we made our way east to Huntington, Long Island where we would neighbor for a week with our friend Kevin. We met Kevin a few months prior in North Carolina and he invited us to come and see his part of the world. We pulled into his cul du sac and found a beautiful refuge of gardens, pool and picnic settings awaiting us. He welcomed us with a wonderful breakfast including one of our favorites, fresh peppermint and ginger tea. We planned out our week and decided that we would take the hour and a half trip into the city four or five times that week. The other days would be spent at the Robert Moses State Park, as well as, relaxing at Kevin’s house, enjoying the pool and catching up on laundry and enjoying an evening making dinner for Kevin and his friends/family, sharing meals, song and story.
Honestly, four days was about all we could handle in the city. We arrived with just enough to purchase our 7 day metro passes at $32 a piece and had a few coins to spare. What that meant was dining out or special activities were limited but rather we explored by foot, subway, train and ferry. We walked and walked, taking in all of the free opportunities available. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge, rode the Staten Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty, strolled through Battery Park and visited the 911 Memorial. We made a modest donation and wandered around the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We met up with old friends for dinner at their place on the upper east side, we spent time in community with fellow muso’s, Dylan Sneed, Katie Lee and Craig Greenberg and performed our music in Greenwich Village at Caffe’ Vivaldi. We snuck into the Iridium (Les Pauls famous club) to see our Bus Rider, Chris, perform with his band, The Frotations. We met a friend for breakfast and then went to the Robert Moses State Park on Long Island, the most populated beach we have ever been to. We took a hike down to the lighthouse where we ran across a few nudist fishing on the beach. And, that was something.
And then, we met Amanda and Christian Neill, owners of Roots Cafe in Brooklyn and were inspired by their epic story of coming to NYC from Nashville with extreme debt. They found jobs but it was seeking a deeper purpose there that led to miracles and finally becoming debt free. But that wasn’t even the coolest part of their story, the part that was mind-blowing was how they eventually found themselves as the owners of Roots Cafe, this awesome little coffee shop that we met them in. Their’s was an intricately woven story involving faith and community and that story continues to set a tone of openness at Roots Cafe as Amanda and Christian, seek to share the space with musicians, artists, and vendors living and working in Brooklyn. And share they did, as we partnered alongside them on a Tuesday night after hours, sharing sacred space, story and encouragement.
Our time in New York City pulled all sorts of emotions out of us, from being overwhelmed and frustrated to pure joy, self-pity to total contentment. That city took us for a ride and we went along with it, and for better or for worse, we’d do it all over again.