The decision was made back in May, when I knew I would travel during the year, that NYC was the only place I wanted to be when another digit would be added to my biological age….A place where anything would be possible, and I knew that whatever presented itself to me that day would be treasured, both on that day, and for the many that would hopefully follow….So to NYC and the people who celebrated with me….thank you….
The one event I would like to recall from that day was my birthday dinner…a truly wonderful occasion, random in the very sense of the word….special beyond words….firstly because my idea of a dinner party with actual real people at the table turned from dream to reality…in a city that I knew not a single sole.
When I knew I was to be in Gotham City for my birthday, one thing was clear, I did not want to celebrate alone….it was the year of Catch Up with a Mate after all…So I put it out there, to friends, to family, the cats and dogs in my social circle…I was going to be in NYC for my birthday…help me put together a groups of people to celebrate with me….
It read like a classified in the singles section of the NY Times: Single Australian girl seeks company, male and or female / cats tolerated, to celebrate 33rd birthday in NYC….Preference for a nice meal, followed by drinks….but open to suggestions’
My cousin’s wife was the first to respond….Sending through a long email, a passionate description of her Irish friend living in up in NYC…’ You must catch up with Paul… he is a wonderful man…you will LOVE him’…How could I not contact this man and set aside a place for him at the birthday dinner table
The face book status update from my friend Magda, living the dream in Hawaii, surfing daily….and leaving the ocean behind for NY…arrival date early September….An online message to Magda advising her of her place at the dinner table for my birthday….and promising to update with more info as it unfolded…
The last person to be added to the mix was Rose, a friend of my work mate Elena…an Australian girl embarking on further academic study in the city….
The party of four was complete….my birthday meal was set, restaurant decided upon with the help of Paul….Rosa Mexicano, Union Square, Midtown, NY…the decision based on Paul’s admiration of the frozen pomegranate margaritas that graced the restaurants drinks menu….
So let me introduce the party
Identification of the guest was a part of the evenings proceedings I had overlooked….I knew Magda, I had meet her before!!, but I had never met Rose or Paul….never seen a photo…For reasons unknown to myself, I advised Rose that I would have a red rose in my hair….but gave nothing away to Paul…and that was to prove a problem.
Successfully locating Magda and Rose, we got down to the business of actually getting to know one another, and unable to locate Paul ( strange that!!) we took our table reservation.
15 minutes passed and no Paul….so I left the girls to chat and went and stood out the front of the restaurant….This is where it turned rather desperate…I began to ask any male who approached the entrance if there name was Paul….and the New Yorkers did not take to kindly to this….Assuming I had been stood up on a blind date, I got looks of sympathy and looks of pity…My birthday spirit was being dampened…so I went back to the dinner table and with the intention of ordering a margaritas very quickly.
And then there was Paul….who, like me, had been struggling to come up with the image of a woman who would want to dine with random guests for their birthday meal…Paul had been at the bar, sending an SOS meeting to Caz via his I-phone to OZ, asking for a description of such a person…
Well, again thank you Caz, for responding to Paul’s message, and for allowing for this unusual evening to proceed any further hick ups!
Over a Mexican feast , numerous drinks and mood lighting, the four of us chatted, laughed and celebrated…It was a refreshing approach to birthday celebrations and I could not have asked for finer people to herald in another year of this thing called life….drinks at a nearby truly American watering hole followed, a bar over 150 years old, something akin to a pub in the Rocks in Sydney….and then goodbyes followed….the evening ended and we all went our separate ways….but for me, I can’t speak for the others, I came away a little richer in spirit, as 2 strangers and one new friend, had just made my day…a beautiful meal, in a beautiful setting, a beautiful city, with fine conversation, laughter and smiles….
To Paul, thanks for the restaurant recommendation, the effort you went to locate me in the flesh and for your willingness to partake in this experimental birthday dinner
Rose, thank you for coming along, for embracing the randomness of the evening and adding a much appreciated Australian twist to the evening. Enjoy your new home….I am so envious.
Magda,…thank you for your contagious smile and unique outlook on life, the birthday candles, the present and the written words…which I treasured so much that I actually lost on my flight to the UK yesterday…’Be open to love and remember that were ever you go there will always be someone waiting for you’
To Caz and Elena in Australia…thank you for loaning me your friends…they are beautiful people and I feel lucky to have been able to celebrate with them
And finally to New York, for providing the perfect setting for a once in a lifetime birthday celebration. Words cannot express my gratitude.
And on that note I will end my ode to New York….New York the city of abundance for those that can afford it, the one place on planet earth that is capable and amazing me, astounding me, disappointing me and angering me in any one given day….But I place I could never turn my back on….As with any true relationship, you whether the storm together, the grit, the grim and the graceful…all components combining to make a city like no other….a city that I would call a true friend.