I haven’t lived in New York City for about 8 years, but it still seems like home. My wife and I were watching a Woody Allen film the other night. It was set in the late 1930s, – early 40s, and for a split second, an art deco building appeared in the background. “That’s on 2nd Ave and 22nd Street!” I said to Joy. “I used to walk by there almost every day.”
I don’t like being a name dropper, but I feel like that’s what I do sometimes: falsely claiming familiarity with a place with which I am no longer associated. So I paused the movie and consulted Google Maps. I made the cursor crawl along 22nd Street and swiveled. There it was, just as I imagined! We zoomed in on the features and compared with the still image on the TV screen. The signage in the film hadn’t changed from the street-view on my computer. At that moment, I felt a renewed pang of nostalgia for New York streetscapes.
Below is the side view of a chicken place very close to where I worked. The whole store was painted yellow. On this particular day it was very sunny; the side of the building was the definition of ‘yellow’. Even though all the viewer sees is yellow, a couple of old public phones and the beginning of a brown exhaust system, I imagine the smell of grilling chicken and remember some of the lunches I had sitting at the small tables inside the Chirping Chicken, just beyond the yellow wall.