I feel somehow that Nora Ephron is woven inexorably into the tapestry of my living in this city that I love so profoundly. When I was a college senior I moved into a tiny, slightly decrepit one bedroom apartment in the boondocks section of the Upper East Side. There was scarcely a thing about that particular neighborhood or apartment that felt like me, but on my second night there I went to see "Sleepless in Seattle" in a local movie theater and it hit me...I was living my childhood dream of calling New York City my home. So my apartment was still just an apartment, but I was now at home in New York City.
Years later when I was in my mid-twenties, I found myself blessed enough to buy a one bedroom apartment in my beloved city. And although I had barely spent a minute in all my years in Manhattan on the Upper West Side, somehow my vision of living in New York City was shaped by my adoration of Woody Allen movies and my hundredth viewing of "When Harry Met Sally". My home for fourteen years was in the West 70's and close to Riverside Park. I spent countless strolls passing by the storied Apthorp building. And when I did, I would always look into the courtyard from the street and daydream of all the magical people I imagined lived there. Never realizing at the time that Ms. Ephron was one of those very people.
Years later, I found through a series of synchronicities Nora Ephron's famous love letter in The New Yorker to her apartment in the Apthorp. Somewhere in this timeline, my dear friend Alex D. invited me to the New York premier of "You've Got Mail" and I found myself living out another childhood dream torn from the pages of "The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" of being inside The Natural History Museum after hour. Underneath the iconic blue whale stood both Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who I adore, but it was Ms. Ephron that I was longing to speak to but too shy to approach. No small violins are playing here though, as in that inevitable way that life presents us all with our own full-circle story arcs, I had my opportunity years later to speak with her under much more meaningful circumstances.
So at this point in my own story, here is my love letter to Ms. Ephron that I posted in the wake of her recent passing:
"I will always remember Nora Ephron, not just because I loved her humor and her movies, but because she obsessively loved her Upper West Side apartment in the Apthorp and her article in The New Yorker about letting it go helped me to let go of my own apartment on the UPW that I was obsessively attached to. I loved her because when I was pregnant with my second child, and my aforementioned beloved home was in contract to be sold, I found myself sitting behind her in a movie theater and mustered up the courage to thank her for her Apthorp article. I told her of my heartache in moving and she turned around to me and put her hand on my arm and looked me squarely in the eyes as she said, 'You will feel so stupid that you ever worried about leaving...'
And it being Nora Ephron, it was said with the perfect mix of tenderness, tough love, perspective and emphasis. And of course, as I sit here looking out my window of my new home where I am greeted by rainbows, fireworks, and all the phases of the moon...I know she was right."
With deep abiding gratitude and love,