Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New York a Nice Place -- to Visit

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New York a Nice Place -- to Visit

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union columnist

For some people, New York represents the American dream.

If you can make it there, Frank Sinatra sang, you can make it anywhere.

I've never been one of those people. Which is why, I suppose, I went 33 years between visits.

In 1969, I spent an exhilarating weekend in New York celebrating high school graduation and my 18th birthday. Sunday, I returned from another exhilarating weekend spent in New York, this time celebrating my new marriage.

In the mid-'80s, shortly after the novelist and sports writer Dan Jenkins had moved from Manhattan to Ponte Vedra Beach, I asked him if he missed the city. Jenkins, after all, had not only spent two decades living in New York while working for Sports Illustrated, but he had also used the city as a sort of character in his best novel, Semi-Tough, which is about a Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

Jenkins said he didn't miss it because New York is a young person's town. By which he meant that it is the most stimulating city on Earth, a city marinated in adrenaline.

For four days and three nights, we had a full New York adventure: Great shows (The Sweet Smell of Success, 42nd Street, The Blue Man Group); a not-so-good show (The Graduate); an afternoon at The Met; some good food; a sobering, moving visit to ground zero, where the cleanup has almost ended; and transportation all over the city on the subway system, one of the true wonders of the modern world.

By Sunday, I was ready to come home. Being stimulated is a pretty good condition to be in on your honeymoon. But at my age you can't function on adrenaline forever.

It was precisely to avoid any more stimulation that we made it a point to arrive at Kennedy Airport three hours early. We checked our bags through security, checked ourselves through security and headed for the gate where our plane was to depart at 4 p. …

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