It was the way I always wanted New York to be, the way I always envisioned my life here.

Walking down a street after a performance, catching up with a group of dancers and their friends ambling along and being warmly greeted by them and told how much they liked my work.

We continue walking side by side, a group of artists who have just performed different pieces in a group show.

Coming up on the other side of the dance group now are two women dancers from a more experimental group, carrying a huge plastic bag full of props. The first dance group hoots and hollers and howls like a dog showing the women that they remember their set. Everyone laughs. People walking by look at us with interest, the way I always do when I see groups of people laughing and talking together and it looks like so much fun. At those times I wonder what their bond is, their history, and, sometimes, envy it.

This night was the way I had always wanted New York to be but it hadn’t happened often — walking along after a show, greeting each other, encouraging and congratulating each other, then deciding in smaller groups where to go — down the subway steps and home or out to eat. The two women from the dance group ask me to join them for margaritas but I say “no.” I’ve worked all week at a day job, performed tonight and we have another gig tomorrow up in Harlem. Later I’m real sorry that I didn’t go with them. Those opportunities don’t come along all the time.

Still, it’s a warm late September evening on the lower east side of Manhattan, way down. The air is soft and lilting and I’m relaxed after my earlier horrid pre-show nerves.

It was one of those nights when New York was the way I always thought it could be, New York at its best — people creating, the audience responding, a group of artists showing the many different versions of our art — sharing our work, our walk, our city and the soft sweet night.

by Mary Pat Kane, rewritten while waiting for my mentee in a cold coffee shop, Sunday, March 4, 2012