86th Street Subway station at Lexington Avenue, New York, 2007.

Next week I head out to New York City. I’m taking a red- eye from Portland so I can arrive in the city the next morning and not waste a second.

I once lived in NYC.

When I graduated from college back in 1977, I moved there to look for work.

It was beyond naïve.

I remember walking into the New York Times lobby to see if I could give my resume to someone. The security guard smirked and sent me on my way.

I finally found a gig, but was eventually fired.

Seven years later – after leaving the city and starting over at a weekly paper in Hermiston, Oregon — I returned to New York. I had written a 27,000-word feature at The Oregonian, and the New York Times had offered me a job. When I showed up for the interview, the same security guard was there.

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog know that I’ve been getting organized, going through boxes of files, stories and letters in my basement.

Tonight, I stumbled upon a diary I kept when I moved to NYC.

The first entry was dated June 20, 1977:

“I arrived last night and carried three heavy bags from the train station.”

I ended up living on 86th and Broadway on the Upper West Side in an old hotel that had been converted into apartments.

The photo at the top of the blog is from the subway stop.

I was mugged in New York, grew a beard and lost money playing three-card Monte. I studied martial arts, nearly broke my hand and sold my guitar to an old-school Italian woman who told me I had to leave the apartment before her husband got home.

I played basketball in Harlem, survived the blackout and the Son of Sam.

I dated a ballerina who told me – when I said I had to leave the city after getting canned – that I was one of the good ones.

And, she said, all the good ones leave.

But I’m coming back.

I hope you join me on the trip.

 

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