I’ve lived in New York for the better part of two decades now, and you’d think I’d have gotten used to it. In a way, I suppose I have, but even now all it takes is a whiff of the unexpected and I catch myself boggling at that which the native New Yorker really does take for granted. As for my visits to Smalltown, U.S.A., they invariably leave me feeling like yesterday’s immigrant, marveling at things no small-town boy can ever really dismiss as commonplace, no matter how long he lives in the capital of the world.
My cab swept me across the Triborough Bridge and the Upper East Side, past the Guggenheim Museum and through Central Park, straight to the front door of my building. I trotted up the steps, unlocked the door to my apartment, and turned on all the lights. A quick look at the walls assured me that all my prints were present and accounted for: here an Avery, there a Marin, Frankenthaler over the couch, Wolf Kahn over the mantelpiece. I dropped my bags, locked the door, and sighed deeply. Once again I had made the impossible journey from Smalltown to New York, from home to home….
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