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It's up to you, New York

I had a great time with my friend Rich on Saturday. Dinner at La Cocina, which is probably my favorite restaurant in the whole city. It's laid back; nice but not fancy, active but not noisy. The margaritas are great and the food is even better. After dinner we had a couple of beers nearby, right on my old block. My other work friends didn't come out, which I mostly expected because my whole trip was on pretty short notice.

I stayed at my ex's apartment, on the fold-out couch. I was a little nervous about that; I didn't want to spend the whole weekend feeling awkward, waiting for her to blow up at me or something. But it went much better than that. It seemed like we're mostly free of the old behavior patterns we used to have with each other. We both realize it's over, and consider that to be a good thing, so there's no point rehashing anything.

So, bureaucrats willing, I'll have a divorce judgment in a few weeks. I submitted the final papers on Tuesday, after a pretty anticlimactic Monday. I needed to have an agreement notarized with both of our signatures, so I met my ex on her lunch hour. It took us half an hour to find a nearby notary public, then we got some pizza from Uno's.

I headed down to the courthouse, and spent a while correcting some of the forms with our new addresses, and making sure that I wasn't missing anything. This took forever, I almost went snowblind from all the stupid papers. I had my stack of original forms from when I started all this (over a year ago—a rant for another time), plus the new packet of blank forms so that I could make the corrections, I had them spread out all over a bench in a hallway, and I sat on the floor as I worked on them. I'm actually surprised I was able to keep them all straight. It was 4:30 by the time I got one of the matrimonial clerks to review it all.

They told me that the Affidavit of Defendant was too old, so I needed to get her to sign (and notarize) a new one. Then, because that form had changed, I needed to fill out a new Affidavit of Regularity and notarize that. They also said that the notarization form I had used wasn't what they usually see, so that might be a problem. It was too late to get any of this done that day, so I stayed and tried again on Tuesday. The notarization went much faster the second time around, and most of the papers were in order already, so I finished at the courthouse by around 2:00.

From there I walked over to World Trade. I stood on Church Street looking through the fence, trying to visualize the towers and plaza where they should be. It wasn't very hard, but their absence didn't seem that unnatural to me as I stood there, my whole field of vision drowned in gray earth and blue sky. I walked down to Liberty, then down Greenwich street toward my old office building. I turned around and looked up the street behind me, and that's when it felt weird. I remembered specific incidents among the hundreds of times I'd seen the towers in that context, and it was very strange to not see them there.

Greenwich was all torn up months before the attack anyway, for subway repairs, but it looks worse now. A lot of the businesses there didn't survive, and what's left is just a shadow of its former vitality. I was feeling pretty sad when I got to my favorite pizza place in the city: Famous Bari, the address is 2 Rector Street but it's on Greenwich. (No, not Original Ray's—please—this is a completely different caliber.) I was in there at least two weekdays out of five when I worked down there. Their crust is to die for. I got a slice of chicken and tomato, and a slice of white. The place hasn't changed much, and that was kind of comforting. By the time I finished lunch, I felt much better.