The sound of garbage trucks screeching to a halt on the street below wakes me. My phone blinks the time: 530 am. I haven't been awake this early in months, preferring to start and end my day later.
But I'm in New York for the first time. I don't want to waste a minute.
I'm up. Into the shower. Makeup. Clothes. Sneakers. No, my blue platform boots (with socks). It's cold but I want to exude confidence, something these Vincent Camuto's always lend to me. Coat. Scarf.
I'm out the door and looking for one place in particular to eat breakfast -- Maman Tribeca.
I know I could probably find a decent breakfast if I were to just wander the streets but I've read about Maman and I have my heart set on a croissant and coffee. New Yorker's rave about it, so I'm determined to find it.
The streets are slowly starting to fill with people. It is cold, the kind of cold you can feel deep in your bones. The wind stings my face and wakes me up. The roads are starting to come alive as people head off to work, to school.
I get turned around, despite my phone GPS being turned on. It doesn't load so I use the map and determine that I'm less than a quarter mile away. Down 6th, across W Broadway, on the left.
It's sandwiched between old buildings that don't have much to brag about.
Up the stairs, a blast of warm air thaws me out.
The girl in front of me is greeted by name and gets her "usual". I'm envious of the easy, detached familiarity.
I order. Croissant and a flat white, please.
Go back to my hotel or eat here? I stay, wanting to soak up as much of the atmosphere as I can.
The decor is very French. Bold, floral, pretty, edgy.
Two more people come and go. Regulars, I gather due to the use of their first names.
I love this about New York. People are personable, without intruding on your personal space. They're aloof but focused, their observations turned inward, leaving everyone else to exist as they please.
I finish my croissant and start back to my hotel. There is a nice clothing shop next to a dive bar. An old deli on one corner, a hipster bakery on the opposite. Construction everywhere. Cars everywhere. The streets more crowded than before breakfast.
I'm cold. I'm excited. And I'm awake.
Not from the coffee at Maman but from the energy that I feel pulsing in every corner of this city.