Home was a hidden lakefront prairie paradise for a fledgling explorer – it’s now a golf course suburb. I’ve erased that place from the map of my mind and settled it’s shores in childhood fantasy – somewhere that never really existed – except in my mind.
I’m calling this the ‘NY Banksy War’ trip and I’ll let you in on a few secrets.
I am in NY to meet Oscar nominated filmmaker, author of War, and war journalist, Sebastian Junger, who’s film I saw at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. I followed my gut to find him here. He has bunkered inside the worst war zone in Afghanistan and recommended my stay at Carlton Arms. I think I can trust him.
New York’s Gramercy district opens with 3 keys in my hand. One to the front door of a derelict gem-of-an-art hotel that most never would know about. The second opens my shared-bath closet-of-a-room inside an art crawl of a dream. The third key is to a second lock I don’t put on my door.
“Banksy stays here.” It’s true. An art project of it’s own right – live-in artists, live-in cat – real edgy and definitely not a pre-fabed hotel-of-a-box that every city guilts showcasing. My room, 15b is right on the stairwell that the now infamous graffiti artist, Banksy took paint to the walls leaving his own dreams behind before the world claimed his guerrilla strokes of genius.
In a city that never sleeps, I slept 17 hours in a city where I typically indulge in melatonin and ear plugs. I slept without aid and woke to a note under my door – an art note – a Banksy mouse. Could it be? Real? I <;3 NY more than ever right now.
Cafe OST, hideout hydration outpost found on a wander in November is within wander distance from 15b. I afternoon with cappuccino and reward today's writings with house wine après 5 o’clock. This muted cafe anchors remote and reclusive life – a hip hidden place 'not to be seen'. My kinda place.
The lights change in the street and sky. Brick walkups, apartment blocks light up as owners return from another New York work day. I'm camped across the street, watch the locals on the sidewalk, taxis drop offs and pick ups – everyone makes their way home tonight.
I think about dinner. Who will be my host for eats before I set off to meet Sebastian for the first time – late drinks at his pub The Half King – if his schedule allows.
Partner in Crime.
I return to find another Banksy note and a graffiti spray can outside 15b! Ok, WHO is leaving secret notes and enabling me to commit an illegal act of art!? Banksy?!? What’s a girl to do tonight in NY with a spray can? Find a partner in crime. Hell yes.
Hello New York. Hello Bansky. I'm wide awake. I love you.