August 19, 2006

New York moments

Yesterday I took Damian into the city for a visit with his friend C, in from California. The train conductor charged me for one adult, no child. This is the second time that's happened.

When we got into Penn Station, I wanted to stop at Staples. As we stood on line to pay, Damian was chatting a mile a minute, probably something about meeting C or about outer space (his current fascination) or even about the logistics of train travel. The man behind us smiled and started chatting with us. Before I knew it, he'd pulled out a wallet photo of his two blond boys, ages seven and nine. When we left, he waved goodbye.

Much later, after an enjoyable six hour play date with C and family, Damian and I ended up on the east side of Central Park. We needed to get to the subway on the west side. I didn't want to walk on the traverse road right beside the cars racing to get across 72nd Street, so I took a meandering path instead. Damian pointed out after about ten minutes that we were now passing the back of the Metropolitan Museum. Which is around 80th Street on the, um, Upper East Side. Not a good sign. I hailed a woman, who pulled out her iPod earbuds and cocked her head. "Are we heading north?"


"How can we get west?"

She showed me the path heading west, which happened to be BENEATH us. Short of parachutes or bungie jumping, that wasn't about to happen. But she gave me an idea how to actually meet up with said path. I thanked her. She said, "But you look like a New Yorker." Yes, with one hell of a long gap between, but yes. We chatted. Damian told her he wasn't a New Yorker but now is, or rather, lives in New Jersey. (What does that make us? New Jerseyans? Weird.) We parted ways with smiles and nods as Damian and I set off across the grass, heading west (but only a little west -- not, say, back to California).

On our way back home, I proffered the punched ticket, saying "I thought we'd be coming back off peak, but..." The conductor waved at my ticket and moved along the car. Not charging me the extra $1.50.

The moral of the story? None, really. Except: I still look like a New Yorker, apparently. And my belief in the innate goodness and genuine warmth of my clan (ie: New Yorkers) remains intact.

December 08, 2005

rush rush rush

Going into the city today. Catch the 8:15? No, I'm exhausted, need to sleep. Make it later, make it much later. Have to be in Brooklyn by noon. Wonder if the woman I'm meeting remembers I'm meeting her. Wonder if I should call. Wonder what I'll do if she forgot. Wander around the Heights in 25 degree weather? Winter, god, yes, winter. It does get cold, doesn’t it? Need hat. Miss earmuffs. Rabbit fur earmuffs, bought on the NY street 20 years ago, snapped in half the first time I tried wearing them this winter, currently in use as a cat toy.

Focus. Must get ready to go. Must go. Call Dad. Dad in rehab. Dad is busy this afternoon. How can you be busy in rehab? (Answer: work by phone.) Call Dad's assistant. Rush rush rush.

Meeting Chris on the uptown side of the subway station, north end. I forgot what it's like in the city: meet at the Washington Square Arch, meet at Coliseum Books, meet at the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, meet in the subway station. Among the hordes rushing toward you, one is the person you want to see, expect to see, filtering out the crowds. But the crowds are so interesting, their faces expressive even when they don't know it.

Meeting Dan downtown, Dan driving into the city, work that out, confer by cell phone, "I’m at 23rd Street, where are you?"

Meet up, meet down, meet all around.

Pack. Gotta pack. Staying overnight with Dan's folks. Damian's PJs, Damian's cuddle frog, toothbrushes, what else? Can't forget gummy vitamins.

Must go. Running late. Must catch the train. Train into the city. Commuter train. Commuter Tamar. Rush rush rush, then settle in with a book and my iPod, the train rushing for me down the track toward Broad Street, Newark, Secaucus Junction, then into the tunnel and emerging into the bigness of my city.

Must go.

Catch you later. See you at Columbus Circle, the big globe, know where that is? See you later, see you soon, catch you on the other end.

October 11, 2005


First, a slightly (one hour) belated happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family in the country to the north. Funny to think that might've been us, and this "getting used to a new city" deal would have been magnified by it actually being a new city.

Today, in said city:

Walking down St. Mark's Place near 1st Ave, we passed a cafe (or store?) with colorful plastic chairs and a plastic side table out front. On the table, a white paper bag with handles, the kind you get in upscale stores to bring your upscale clothing home. On the bag, written in marker: "SUSPICIOUS PACKAGE."

Driving on 9th Avenue heading toward the Lincoln Tunnel (I've noted this one before but this time I remembered to record it), a sign on a fence. An official sign, this, a metal rectangle with white letters on a green background, the kind you see everywhere. But this one said: "Don't even THINK of parking here."

What can I say? I like New York attitude.