By Jennifer Newman, PhD
On a recent rainy day, somewhere on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I sit alone in our beautiful office space and the bell rings. I’m expecting lunch, however, am surprised to see a familiar face on the screen as I go to buzz in my delivery. One I have not seen in a long time.
For nearly 30 years she had turned the key and climbed the steps, past the hall door and into Suite 201, which is tucked into the corner of the building. This woman, now retired, stopped by this day on her way back home to her native country in Europe. Her cabinets are gone, and the names on the door frame have changed, but inside 201 her ethic of care still remains. Where she plucked, smoothed, and buffed people to their best selves, we now help them renew from the inside out, and open them to new possibilities through therapy.
This time, she is coming back again to say a final goodbye and to deliver a small gift for our office: an angel to watch over us. An angel to wish us success and happiness. Our visitor cried. She was grateful to come into this space one last time.
She described the various changes she had made while using the office, and noticed all of the changes we had made since coming in. She cried again and said farewell to this space, to this life she had loved in the years having been here. She reminisced about days gone by and spoke about moving on to her next chapter. I invited her to come back but know this is the last time she will be here. She spoke about being at peace as she closed the door one last time.
And now as I sit, alone again, in this space somewhere on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I am reminded that I am not alone -- we are not alone -- and that this small angel, hand delivered on this rainy day, shimmers at me, sparkles and changes colors, the light dancing, a reminder of the deep connections and meanings of a space shared.
The legacy of space in New York City is as fascinating as its people. The walls hold the stories of lives lived, conversations had, meals shared, challenges endured, and aspirations pursued.
And, the bell rings ...