In My Feelings... Newark, NJ, USA!
2020 has had me in my feelings for sure! I'm tired of feeling like my life is over, I'm going pick myself up off the floor to remember some lighter feelings this time last year! Well, almost! After seven years or so, I made the journey back to Newark, NJ, USA! It had been a trip that I penned in my diary but destiny took me back before Miss Rona could ruin anything! Back to Brick City!
Deep in my feelings, I felt duty bound to fly with United Airlines from Beijing Capital Airport to Newark Liberty Airport for the fun of it! I had to, deep down flying into JFK just didn't feel right! My 15 hour direct flight was smooth, sipping enough wine because I was nervous about entering the USA after visiting North Korea. I was feeling those nostalgic feelings as my aircraft parked at the same Terminal B satellite that I used to work from. It had been a long while since I had last checked passports at that Gate 55 for Virgin Atlantic but everything looked just the same! The Port Authority red coat barked at me with her order, I didn't feel triggered or offended by her ratchet nature because I was back in Brick City! I had worked at Newark Liberty Airport for the year between 2012 to 2013 as part of my university placement. The automated customs machine had spat out my paper, I was sweating because I was dreading my passport being checked! The panic was worth nothing, the customs agent was very interested about my DPRK trip! Oh, EWR!
Was I drunk or just in a daze? Both! I had knocked back a few many red wines on the epic flight over the Pacific Ocean. Stamped into the USA for the first time in seven years I then took the familiar escalator down to the baggage claim, stopping in my tracks I had a serious flashback! Remember many times before when I was Arrivals Lead, I would have to make the Virgin Atlantic arrival and baggage announcement. Processing those euphoric feelings, I felt grateful for the immense opportunity I had working at EWR as part of my degree course. To be standing in that location that held so many memories had me feeling some kind of way in the best way! I didn't need to collect any baggage, I exited the secure area into the arrivals to see a slightly updated arrivals area but mostly everything looked the same. On the way to the car park, I did see that some renovations had been did! Taking the escalator had me feeling like I had just finished a shift, I saw the Virgin check-in that I worked at being used! Oh, that Newark sign, B!
With little sleep due to the serious jet lag, I woke up before the birds on the first real day of my NY/NJ/PA trip with the intense need to reconnect with Newark, NJ! Arriving from the NYC Subway at WTC had me dumb, I had only known WTC PATH Station as a monumental building site! No longer the construction continued, I was fronted with a whale like ribcage roof that shone with an indigo blue glow as the deserted shopping area stood empty. Was it already on lockdown? No, but I did see a few scenes that would suit 2020 well! On my way under the Hudson River, my Newark Penn Station bound PATH Train was on the right tracks! Feeling excited, sick and nervous I had a lot of love in that moment for Newark! I had left hastily back in 2013, I had missed the Realness and then some! Newark's skyline came into view, I was shook! Feeling those same vibes, the feel of the station was amplified because China has had me cocooned in a safe space. Trust and believe, I really needed that McGriddle breakfast! Hey, Brit!
Homelessness and social deprivation were things that I hadn't seen for a long time, China had me feeling secure but Newark had me right out in the streets with all of it going off! During my time in Newark I never usually crossed the tracks into the Downtown but I hadn't left it 7 years or flown over an ocean for nothing! Using caution, I navigated that known path to reach Broad and Market Streets! Feeling all kinds of feelings, I knew that the adrenaline would serve me well. I channelled the spirit of Britney, my persona that got my through my placement year during those challenging check-ins. Before I knew it, I saw the scene that has been captured above, I had the street to myself with an uninterrupted view I was easing myself into Newark's Brick City nature. Broad and Market took me back, I admired the view and with a sigh of relief it looked just the same. Nearing Military Park a Newark Police helicopter swooped down over where I was standing, feeling blessed I got myself together because Newark always kept me on my toes! OK!
Away from the 'My Little Pony' style wigs and weaves of Newark's Downtown, I crossed back under the tracks to be reunited with the Ironbound District. I felt sick with excitement, like a child on Christmas morning, I was losing it as I made my way closer to Ferry Street! That vibrant and flavourful street had been the cultural experience that I needed back in my life! I heard Spanish and Portuguese conversations, the Latino 'fuego' and Portuguese nature had me back in those 2012 placement settings. I tried hard not to stare at people because as a foreign in China I know how that feels but I hadn't seen the people of the Ironbound for such a long time and it was so epically different compared to Beijing! I was curiously freaking out in the best way! I had spilled grease on my trousers on the plane on purpose, purchasing some detergent at one of the 'Amazing Dollar' stores along Ferry St had to be done! I was getting those views in, was I 21 years old again in that placement summer daze? I needed the laundromat in my life! Get it, BB!
Lafayette St served those US 'Hometown Glory' views, clocking my former home I was feeling the homesickness that I felt after leaving the US in 2013. I felt grateful once again, I grabbed those sights and made sure they were captured in photo form and in my head! With my detergent in hand, I crept into that familiar laundromat with a mission to complete! With my trousers washing, I had to pinch myself that I had made it all the way back! It was laundry day for the residents of the Ironbound, I listened to their conversations and watched the Spanish music videos that was playing on the same television. Crossing the road to the corner store, I had pined for that New Jersey moment! I secured my photo and a can of Sumol! It was a blessed moment, seriously everything felt time honoured with no mistakes made, it was fate! Before taking the PATH back to NYC, I made it to Ferry St Barbecue Restaurant for my usual half chicken, rice and beans. The food tasted sublime, I was in heaven! Feeling every kind of feeling!