3 of the 8 Million Stories in the Naked City


I’ve written about New York before. I’m lucky to live close enough that I can get there regularly, eradicating the need to cram every. single. thing. into a long weekend.  Instead there is time to wander the streets, sit in hotel lobbies and just drink it all in.

My previous New York posts have all been about my itinerary — what I did, what I saw.  This time, I thought I would reflect on the people I encountered and their stories.  And by their stories, I mostly mean the stories I created for them.  Sort of like Humans of New York, except without the actual interviews, just a few facts and my writer’s eye and mind.

We stayed at the Ace Hotel.  It’s hipster trendy.  I’m not so sure I am. The valet was. Until he offered to take my bags I thought he was a guest. His long hair, un-tucked Oxford shirt and dual colored Converse at the base of his rolled up skinny jeans epitomized the vibe of the hotel. My strong theory that he lived in Brooklyn was confirmed when I later saw him hop the turnstile for a train headed in that direction. I decided he was a graduate student. MFA in Photography.

In Brooklyn we visited the King’s County Distillery. The founder led our tour.  He talked about making moonshine in his apartment for friends.  About how it was bad — until it wasn’t.  He knows a lot about whiskey and its history in New York and spends hours among stills and barrels.  He’s married.  I decided his wife fell in love with him while watching him hunched over his desk in dim light jotting notes about liquor laws and bourbon recipes.

Three lovely bottles of his whiskey were part of an exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design.  Our docent there said she always leads the 11:30am tour.  She showed us her favorite pieces in the collection and encouraged us to linger and look further. She mentioned that her watch stopped while  she was on the bus to work the day before. I decided she sips tea early in the morning.  That her husband passed away last year. He always replaced the batteries in her watch. Sharing art with others brings her comfort.

I’ll never know if what I decided about these three people is true, but part of the magic of the city is the stories it writes for you.

Curious about the Naked City reference? Click here for answers.  Also, if you write stranger’s stories in your head, I would love to hear about it in the comments below (and just sign up in that little box down there, if you want to keep following my stories).

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