Last week my bathroom flooded. I didn’t know it at the time since it happened while trying to drop my third-grader at school, navigating the daily obstacle course of double-parked trucks and sanitation men who inevitably load garbage onto trucks at the exact time every harried parent is trying to get their kids to school. After drop-off, I stopped at my local supermarket and tried to navigate my cart through too-narrow city aisles made more difficult by workers loading items onto shelves. I left the 2nd Avenue market only to be detoured by the perpetual construction associated with the new subway line. Post-flood management, I left for the gym but had to wait 15 minutes for the elevator since one was being repaired.
I love you Manhattan, but move out of my way once in a while!
Leave me some energy for loving relationships, patience with friends, family and romance.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Crossing Delancey, Moonstruck, Annie Hall – scores of romantic movies have been set in the city, not to mention countless works of fiction, poems, and essays. Sex and the City still has an almost cult-like following fueled by re-runs and movies. New Yorkers simply can’t get enough of Carrie and her crew in their quest for romance and forever after. Popular culture continues to feed our minds with images of New York City as backdrop for lazy conversations with friends uninterrupted by daily life, passionate encounters or romantic moments with loved ones. But as my husband and I looked at our never-ending to-do list that included everything from fixing the bathroom leak to planning the logistics of an upcoming visit from his 85 year old father, where does the average New Yorker – whether married or single — find the time or energy for romance? As Valentines Day approaches do thousands of other New Yorkers feel like screaming, “Enough already New York — you’re killing our love lives!”
Hordes of us shut-out the stresses of daily city life with meditation, the gym, a glass of wine – whatever it takes to relax. I get it; I know the whole “be good to yourself and you will be better for everyone” thing. But should it be so incredibly difficult to get to the yoga place or buy that box of green tea? Isn’t daily life, at times, enough to dampen romantic flames and make us cranky without literally having to step over a worker’s head in the cereal aisle? Clear the clutter. Move the trucks. Stop the useless construction. Fill the sanitation trucks after 9:00 AM when most people are where they need to be.
But then a funny thing happened: exhausted, mindlessly flipping channels, I caught a glimpse of Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks on top of the Empire State Building at the end of Sleepless in Seattle. Much to my surprise, I was once again swept away in the last scene and vowed to make special plans for Valentines Day — maybe even plan to meet my husband on top of the Empire State Building just like they do in the movies. Hey it could happen. I just have to avoid 2nd Avenue and hope the darn elevator is working – at both buildings.
Karen Amster-Young, formerly principal of Amster-Young Public Relations, Inc., is a freelance writer living in New York City. She lives with her husband, Ben and 9 year-old daughter, Alison. She continues to work as a public relations & marketing consultant specializing in the home/design and food and beverage industries. Her work has appeared in a number of publications, including magazines on the East End and she has an exclusive column on TheHamptons.com called The Beach Chair Chronicles in the summertime. She can be reached at karen[at]thehamptons.com for comments & inquiries.