A New York Moment.
Sometimes the stars align.
We all remember that early 2000's rom-com, "Serendipity," with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. A story of love in New York, and how fate should play out their destinies. The movie portrays many iconic NYC landmarks, like a busy Bloomingdales, a snowy ice rink in Central Park, and the all-too-famous Serendipity 3, serving up the best frozen hot chocolate in the world. It's a movie that glams up the dirty streets of a loud city that never sleeps.
I've come to the realization that New York is different for everyone. The experience is really what you make it, and whether you believe in the magic of the city, or not, is up to you. You can lose yourself to Corporate America on Wall Street, or spend every cent you have on Fifth, or find yourself lost in the hipster daze in Williamsburg or Lower East Side, or become an aggravated and annoyed tourist in Times Square. You can choose to focus on the crime, the filth, the homeless, and the stench.
I, however, believe in the magic. I do believe! I believe in purposefully making the moments that paint this city grand. I hum Frank's "Autumn in New York" to myself as I walk the crowded streets. I picture myself in a James Dean jacket, or a Woody Allen film, alongside Diane Keaton or Meryl Streep. I seek out the rich and the famous, and search every cafe window for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. I visit Jazz bars, Broadway shows, Central Park, and independent bookstores and coffee shops.
Last summer, I had my once-in-a-lifetime New York Moment. It all started with a movie on the lawn in Central Park. I packed in with thousands of others, with a blanket and snacks, and watched "Big" on the big screen, overlooking Sheep Meadow. When you think of New York City as a child, you dream up this amazing city that you see in movies. You imagine the glam and the fun, you see the lights and feel the energy. Well, I was feeling it that night! I looked up and around me, from my picnic blanket, and the lights of skyscrapers lit up the night's sky. I was living my movie that night.
I played out my night, scene by scene, in my head. After the movie was over, I'd walk up 60th Street, crossing 5th, Madison, and Park Avenues, and dine at Serendipity 3. I'd end my night with a legendary frozen hot chocolate, just like they do in the movies.
I sat in the corner booth, a booth I had once sat in before, and scanned the restaurant's eclectic decor. After my dinner and way-too-much dessert had come and gone, and the ending credits of my glamorous night approached, I noticed a familiar face at a table across the room. I got up from my seat and approached the older gentleman, my palms sweaty and knees shaking.
"Are you Clive Davis?" I asked.
That's right folks, I was talking to Clive Davis, only momentarily distracting him from his own legendary frozen hot chocolate. American record producer, music industry executive, Grammy award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Clive Davis. Former CEO of RCA Music Group, former president of Columbia Records, and chief creative officer of Sony Music Entertainment. Credited to bringing Whitney Houston to prominence, and also working with Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, and many more.
And he asked me my name.
I went on to talk with him the next few moments about New York City, and about my home city of Charleston, South Carolina. I stuttered through my sentences and tried to conceal the jester smile that had overtaken my face. And before I left him with a goodbye, he reminded me of the magic that is New York City.
I left the restaurant that night, with a surprise ending to my evening's movie. It was a scene I would soon not forget. I could do anything. I was on top of the world. I had just met one of the biggest artists and businessmen of all time. And he took the time to talk to me, and get to know ME.
I believe when you seek out the adventure, the magic, the movie, you'll find yourself in situations you never thought possible. When you stray away from the mainstream, and do things your own way, to your own beat, you'll find that you see things that others miss. When you believe you were made for something more, and you truly believe that, things will happen. You have to put yourself in the position, physically and mentally, to achieve and become a winner.
I believe in the magic of New York City, even when others see it as fabricated or outdated. I believe in the magic of life, when others see it as mundane and monotonous. It's my life, and my movie, and I can enjoy the journey as I wish. So can you.
Serendipity: "the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way."