New York, Discontinued

Rich Arnold
2 min readApr 14, 2020

I started constructing my New York in the back of my dad’s Eldorado. We were on the West Side Highway on the way back from the Bronx. I looked into the lit-up apartment windows and was struck with a sudden realization—like I was in the center of an explosion:

“Oh, People live here.”

My New York is different than yours. For all I know, you walk past the Brooklyn Banks every day on the way to work. If you do, you wouldn’t notice where Dave and I sat and ate beef jerky that he stole from the Duane Reade. On the other side of town, there’s a bar that serves gin and tonics that taste like gasoline which you would find entirely unremarkable. You’d be wrong, but how could you know? It’s not yours.

At some point, I started saying goodbye.

Recently, I saw the whitewashed windows at Manitoba’s in Alphabet City. I thought about the last time I was there. The last time I played air hockey in the basement. The last time I paid a tab. The last time left. I didn’t realize it was the last time, of course. That’s how it goes.

So long.

I work three blocks from a John Varvatos store. Once, it was CBGB — a place that was, if I’m being honest, effectively a zombie long before I walked through the doors. That hasn’t stopped me from taking all of it as my own. The parts that were mine and the better times that were someone else’s, they both belong to me. The awning is still there.

I think about my apartment on Grand Street. The restaurant downstairs is still there. The waiter who thought my name was Robert because I was too awkward to correct him? He’s gone.

The person who lives there now put up shelves in my room. I can see them through the window from the street. I hope they figured out where the mice were coming from.

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Rich Arnold

Present: Designing Stories at Instagram. Past: Head of Design at Vine. Future: A dope ghost