Sunday, August 30, 2009

the city that never sleeps. or disappoints me.

so i was visiting some friends in the city this weekend...

now, of course, i grew up in south jersey, and when i used to say, "the city" i was referring to philadelphia. and as much as i still love it there-- rich history, best cheesesteaks in the world, and passionate sports fans who will live and die with their teams no matter how often they cheat-- i'm sure that, for the rest of my life, whenever i use that phrase, i will only think of one city. new york.

i first saw a glimpse of its skyline when i was in college. while i was on the toilet. at the time i thought it was something of an appropriate first impression. "wow! new york city!!! ...(flush)" but it didn't take long for me to fall in love.

it's about 18 years later, but i still feel like a tourist whenever i walk down a new york city street. pretty much any new york city street. most of my friends who live there tell me how much they hate tourists. they always complain about how they clog the sidewalks, and get in their way. but i love 'em. i guess i'd probably feel differently, too, if i lived there, but, i dunno... it's like, i've seen the empire state building a thousand times, but i still get a kick out of it. and i think maybe a reason behind that is how frequently i see the wonder and joy in the face of some geeky middle-aged dude in dark socks and sandals who's seeing it for the first time. makes me feel lucky to live so close by.

when i stepped off the train saturday morning at grand central station, the first thing i saw was a guy in a t-shirt that said, "people = shit". but i've always found the people in ny to be really great. i get lost all the time when i'm there, but i've learned not to worry about it. there's always somebody around to give you directions, and very, very few of these folks will take your wallet in the process of doing so.

anyway, i had a great time. saw a six dollar matinee on 42nd street. found a cool little cafe in hell's kitchen, and spent a lot of time just wandering around in what is probably the best idea in the history of any city-- central park. it's so beautiful, everywhere you look. you'll be walking and you'll think to yourself, "wow, that's gotta be the best view in new york." and then four minutes later, you'll turn around and think, "wait... nope. THAT'S gotta be the best view in new york."

we took our time on our way to the train this morning. passed the museum of natural history and back to central park. through strawberry fields, with the dakota to our right. winding down green little meandering paths, and passed the plaza and fao schwartz. when we stumbled upon a movie shoot just outside of tiffany's, you could tell straight away who the local was and who wasn't. my friend just walked on by. and i gawked at the actress who looked exactly like holly golightly.

then, back at grand central, i walked passed a tour guide who was eagerly taking questions from a big and enthusiastic crowd. that brought such a huge smile to my face-- the thought that people are paying money to tour a building that's 25 minutes away from me. i couldn't even tell you how often i've been inside grand central station.

but i get a kick out of it every time.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) how close i am to the big apple.
2) the free stuff they were giving away in the park yesterday-- a bunch of food, mostly. and we were about fifteen seconds away from a free bike helmet. alas.
3) the thought that the crazy dude we saw on fifth avenue, who was talking to himself and scratching his chest repeatedly, might have been a misunderstood genius.
4) the thought that the loin-clothed feller we saw saturday afternoon-- with his native american head dress, and operatic soprano, and cds for sale, and barely dressed assistant, and greco-roman boots with the jingly bells on them-- might also be a wall street broker, monday through friday. which may explain the economy.
5) audrey hepburn.

song of the day...
"new york, new york" by ryan adams

movie of the day...
"breakfast at tiffany's"

No comments:

Post a Comment