New York Cityby Andrea Pantor, Rego Park, NYNew York City has infused my blood with melee and the smell of urine lingering in the subway station. It is a frozen zoo of tall, silver and shiny sights. The tips of skyscrapers prick the sky when the clouds are moist like cake. There are screeching and quarrelsome sounds. The smells are a blend of sweat, pine and sweetness. There are tastes - of the Orient and Cuba; cultures fuse on 17th Street. The senses collide with one another like feisty, heated molecules. They bump into me and I get energized and plumped up (the way collagen juices up lips) until my cheeks turn pink.There is eye-candy in this city. There are pretty people and cozy antique stores. I walk along the East Side, sniffing the ginger-sweet air. I dream of being fitted with Audrey Hepburn sunglasses and a black sun bonnet. The ruby glow of crushed cigarettes catches my eye. I wonder how a drag tastes; I've never seen a Camel up close.I emerge from the subway station and look up into the sun. I feel the rays smearing hot mustard on my face; summers in New York are so gooey. I smile because I like how the wedges of yellow light between the skyscrapers spill on my face.I want to walk on Madison Avenue and shop at Shanghai Tang, the store with lime green and purple gift bags. The sound of shopping bags crunching against my legs would make me feel classy and urbane. Instead, I catch the greasy, shifting eyes of men in silk suits. I have to deal with men who scoop honey-coated peanuts. They want more than a dollar. The red bulbs of "DONT WALK" blink and I wait by the pretzel stand. Across the street, I see passionate arms waving Bibles in the air. I love how they spit the Testament out like nuggets of fire - they epitomize religious freedom. It is a grand sight to ride the train, watching a woman wrapped in a cream chador absorbing the words of the vociferous preacher.If I continue mincing along, I will have yet another divine experience. There is an ornate little church nestled between two glass buildings. I go inside and light a candle for each of my three grandparents, one of whom died of cancer at 30. Some things don't make any sense. I light a fourth candle, just to thank God for allowing Mommy to get through two operations. I do the Orthodox cross across my chest and pray that no part of her will ever be malignant. My hands are caked with the wax that dribbled and cooled on my skin. From the inside, the stained glass is lemon against the backdrop of winking traffic lights. Then, I relax. c
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.