I've always been in love with New York. Before I'd even set foot on its concrete welcome mat - I was smitten. I was nineteen when I first visited. When all of our college friends headed south for Spring Break, my friend Gretchen and I schemed up a plan to spend the week at her Dad's loft apartment on the south street seaport, just above the Fulton Fish Market. By the time the plans all came together, the airfare sale had ended, and my hopes were dashed. A week later, with fortune (in the form of a tiny travel agency in South Minneapolis willing to backdate an airline ticket for the sale price) on my side, I was on my way.
We landed in New York on St. Patrick's Day. By that time, our group had grown to four - Gretchen, myself, and our friends Jen and Brian. I had a bit of a crush on Brian at the time, and blame the city for my now 17 year marriage to him.
You see, New York is Magic. It gets inside you. It is a symphony of lives, of rhythms, of traffic and noise, and eight million different souls coming together to form one living breathing entity. While you're there, you're part of it. It owns you. And when you leave, you become homesick for it, even though it's not where you live.
And anyone you encounter who has experienced the city in this same base-sense is now your kindred.
Enter Nina and Deanna.
I first met this unstoppable pair of twins three years ago, when they came in to plan their brother's Bar Mitzvah cake. They put me through the ringer. Incorporating every detail of his wide range of interests. By the time we were done, we had designed a cake that incorporated among other things, the broken sword of Narsil from the Lord of the Rings, a Brett Favre signed football, and a frosting bag of Doritos.
During our meeting, I was surprised to find myself engaged in conversation with two ten year olds. Not that I don't like kids, I just don't understand them. I typically find them to be on the level of drunk adults...overly emotional, short attention span, clingy, and irrational. These two weren't like that at all. During our conversation, we discovered that we had been to many of the same travel destinations. These two had been to the Vienna Opera House, as had I, and they had frequented, and adored, New York. They spoke of the city with the same familiarity and adoration that I spout when on the subject. Their eyes lit up and they filled with energy talking about their favorite places, foods, and sights in the city.
So, three years later, when time came to design their Bnot Mitzvah cake, I was thrilled to hear that they had chosen a New York theme to the party. My girls.
Their mom had an awesome event planned. The room would be divided into Burroughs and landmarks. There would be Coney Island, with carnival food, the Carnegie Deli, Russian Tea Room, Tiffany's, etc. The cake...try to stop us. Incorporating each of their favorite colors, red and blue, a nod to their love of music, their Russian heritage, and all things New York, we designed a cake that would take their guests from our Minneapple to the Big Apple in one glance.
Then, after adding the Brooklyn Bridge, the two decided that there most-certainly had to be an M&M "East River".
When we went to set up the cake, we were thrilled to see our guests of honor arrive early for family photos. We typically don't have the opportunity to see our clients, as the cakes are set up, and we are but a puff of powdered sugar in the air by the time guests arrive. I couldn't help feeling a bit nostalgic when I saw the two enter the ballroom in party dresses and lipstick. I've only known them for three years, but they've become my girls. Maybe it's that I've had a great time with their family on every event we've done. Maybe it's that I'm getting older and softer, or that their mom cracks me up every time we talk. But if you had to pin me down, I'd say it's because our hearts share the same home town.