(Doree Lewak, NY Post) For Dina Kaplan, Labor Day weekend means camping out in the Nevada desert among 60,000 of her newly minted besties, finding her Zen among sunrise meditation sessions, outrageous costumes and a commitment to “human decency” at the annual, anything-goes Burning Man festival.
“They give you water if you’re thirsty and feed you if you’re hungry,” says Kaplan, a five-time veteran of the festival and a West Village-based entrepreneur and yoga enthusiast who declines to give her age. “Some people will dance for 18 straight hours.”
But today, she’s finding it difficult to readjust to the real world as she returns to life in NYC.
“You have cars honking at you, subway doors closing on you, and people’s MO is to serve themselves and not you. It’s very harsh — it’s very hard to leave Burning Man,” says Kaplan.
Who’d ever think that joining a self-sufficient outdoor “camp,” using baby wipes as a pseudoshower for a week and, for some, taking copious amounts of drugs would be so hard to give up?
A number of New Yorkers, dissatisfied with their lives, flee westward every year for the weeklong festival known for its constant hugs and no-money mandate. But upon their return, many are experiencing palpable withdrawal symptoms as the transition proves tough for those who continue to see the mirage of Burning Man, even when back in Manhattan.
“You’re trying desperately to hold onto the good energy [of] Burning Man, but it is so hard to do that amid the bustle of NYC,” says Kaplan, who recalls an episode at the airport in which a fellow “Burner” jumped the cab line and hissed, “We’re not at Burning Man anymore.”
To cope, some Burners are hosting support groups masquerading as “decompression parties” around the city.