Friday, September 19, 2008

About being in the city

Thankful that there are so many tourists you don't feel stupid.

Standing on a corner, juggling three maps, figuring out which way to go. Asking somebody.

Or somebody seeing you juggling maps, and stops and asks where you want to go. And tells you a better way to get there.

The first glimpse of the city, walking up the stairs from Penn Station at dusk, as the street lights glow in a rainy Friday night.

Trying to look at everything at once.

The "I'm in a movie" feeling.

The "I'm such a tourist" feeling.

Buying umbrellas on the street for two dollars because it won't stop raining.

Dropping off the guys at Yankee Stadium (old and new), seeing it for the first time, finally sunny for the Saturday game, following the people in the subway in Yankee hats and jerseys up to 161st Street.

Later to Washington Square, playgrounds full of parents and little kids, college students studying on benches, friends chatting, couples holding hands. Buying bottled tea from a corner vendor.

Nearby a street fair, buying corn-bread pancakes filled with melted motzerella. Real lemonade for $1. Pashima scarves in every color of the world, just $5. Stocking up for winter. Chinese ladies giving us shoulder massages.

On McDougall, finding hummus, fresh, wonderful hummus for lunch, with just-baked, still-warm pitas. Stuffed grape leaves. Regretting ever buying hummus in plastic at Kroger.

Strolling into the Kate Spade store and wanting everything.

Finding Old St. Patrick's, a relic of Mother Teresa on display.

Skirting a blocks-long street fair in Little Italy, that had traffic in a knot all around it, white, red and green arches stretching on and on overhead.

Meeting the guys after the game, sitting down and sharing slices of floppy, warm New York pizza.

Riding the 1 train to Canal Street. Following the crowd to Ground Zero. Flowers, so many flowers, stuck in the fence, wilting slightly.

Construction loud and active even on a Saturday night. Over the Vesey Street walkway, buying souvenirs from the vendors. Taking pictures of the pit.

Trying to figure out how to get to Battery Park, tips from a lady who walked by and helped us, who said, "Just walk through that building, it's a nicer walk than on the street." And she was right.

Walking around the south tip of Manhattan, passing yet another 9/11 memorial, yachts at a marina, around the corner and there is the Statue of Liberty. Taking more pictures. Seeing the torch alight even as we watched.

Dozens of flags drifting in an evening breeze in Battery Park.

A packed Staten Island ferry, boys with skateboards roughhousing, the Brooklyn Bridge with waterfall, the Manhattan Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, this time close up.

Wall Street looking substantial and solid on the outside; somewhere inside the walls, financial institutions are crumbling, as we walk by, taking pictures.

The bells of Trinity Church ringing over all.

Rockefeller Center. Flags and fountains. 30 Rock. Lunch under an umbrella at the cafe, too expensive but too fun to skip.

Window shopping on 5th Avenue, buying toys at F.A.O. Schwartz, tourists and locals with bags and bundles. The toy soldier guy.

Finding Central Park, sudden stillness a sidewalk away. A blue-gray spray-painted Statue of Liberty lady posing for picture for $1. Break dancers entertaining for tips. Carriages and bike-carts. The lawns scattered with blankets and picnics and kids and nappers. Carnival rides just beyond in a meadow.

Walking over a stone bridge, turtles sunning themselves on a rock, the horizon of trees backed by the city skyline.

Souvenir shopping one last time in Time Square, double-taking at the Naked Cowboy Guy, a last glance back as we go into Penn Station.

Long drive home.

Paying for lunch today, I found a subway pass still in my wallet.


Ruth P said...

Hey, speaking of City life, check out this vid that Caleb made when we were in Chicago, def. the "I'm in a movie" feeling :)

Ruth P said...

oops, here's the url