Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tales from New York

This weekend I went to New York for several reasons, for boyfriend's birthday, for his mother's birthday, for his future goddaughter's baby shower, and more than anything to have a nice visit and get some BOOTAY. Heh.

Anyways, over time and many visits to the city, I've started to get used to it. Not get used to it in the way a person who lives there would, but it's not this foreign megapolis trying to consume my 5'6'' frame anymore. I am more comfortable in it, I know which way I need to go to get to boyfriend's office, have a sense of place when I am on a certain street. I certainly don't know the city well, but I can imagine myself being alone and needing to get somewhere and being able to make it in one piece, which is a far cry from how I used to feel when thinking about what I would do if left alone to find my way: curl up in the fetal position and succumb to death by a pack of flesh-eating wild dogs because trying to find your way through the maze of humanity, buildings and cars in the city was that impossible.

The past couple of times I've come to the city for whatever reason I've had to walk a few blocks to meet boyfriend, or even walk the 10 or so to his office. On Friday when I arrived, boyfriend needed an ATM and I find Port Authority very confusing, so I told him to tell me a street and I'd go there. My job was to get from Port Authority to 7th and 37th. I walked out onto 8th and 40th (shady shady) but that's only about 4 blocks total walking, easy to handle. After I got past the tourists and a few panhandling rowdy bums, I got to a free space on the sidewalk and took in NYC. I started walking down 8th and thought "ahhh New York. So gritty, so real, so bold, so much to see and do" Just as I was thinking "I like this place" a barrage of commuters and tourists lunged from the opposite sidewalk towards me and without rhyme or reason, bashing into me left and right, hitting my bags and my body. Then I think "Fucking NEW YORK CITY!" and with a new sense of determination, I charge down the street and start whacking people with my bag - not on purpose, of course, but clearly if you don't want to get hit, you have to move, so I figured that if these people didn't want to get hit, they'd move.

That seems to be the thing with New York. I think you have to be a very determined person to live there, either that or oblivious to the world. I mean, when you walk down the sidewalk, you need to take charge and WALK, no floating down the sidewalk, no lumbering, no strolling, that is what the PARK is for! I'm actually ok with this, I like to move fast, I like for people to get out of the way, but another part of me wants to flail and say "too fast, stop touching me NO BUMPING STOP!" The crowds can get to me, I think they get to a lot of people, not just the visitors either.

On the other hand, the city is crowded because it has so much to offer. It's frickin' HUGE, there's a bar and some place to eat on every corner it seems. Sure, you can't run to the Super Stop N' Shop but you can get some strange food ingredient and the small local shop on blah blah blah street and blah blah blah ave. The chain stores are huge, and the small shops are cool and interesting full of trendy, swanky things. Also, boyfriend works off of "Fashion Ave" and let me tell you, if ever I have to meet him at the office, I try to wind my way through the streets to get there instead walking straight down 7th. Why? because that's where they hide the amazing fabric stores Of course I do not go in because never in my life have I seen something as intimidating as a store filled with bolts of cloth 7 feet tall, but oh, I can look and savor the warm velvets and cool silks glowing in the flourescent lights over head, and imagine myself leaping into a heap of fabric scraps and building a nest. It's at that point that I usually remind myself that I have a destination and move on. Of course, there are other things in the city - the culture, the sights, the sounds - I won't mention the smells, cause usually, they're not that nice. While I will always love Boston for the simple fact that I am more suited for it, I can't deny that in going to New York I have had some great opportunities. I've been to the opera 3 times, and just standing in front of Lincoln Center is enough to make you want a season pass, nevermind going inside. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is lovely, though I found it a bit overwhelming, and you absolutely cannot thoroughly see it in a day, you probably need 3. Also, the Natural History Museum is great - or at least what I saw of it, was great, especially since the Smithsonian is the epitome of all Natural History museums, I was very impressed by New York's. Also because I think traveling in general is healthy, I've enjoyed just going to New York in general to experience something new and see the sights (cause there are a shitton, people, just take the train). Though I don't think I could ever adopt it as my own, I do see why people are inspired by New York - it's kind of that old American dream from days gone by still in action, full of people who are trying to make it big. New York is always busy, it's always moving, it really doesn't sleep (good for me, cause I'm a night owl and when you're up dancing til 3am and you're hungry and want to go home not only can you grab a slice but you can also HOP ON THE TRAIN because it's still running! How great!)

Basically what I am saying is that New York has gained my respect and appreciation (yeah cause it was totally waiting for it too, LOL) It's not to say I love it, there are still things that get on my nerves, and people in it, who are obsessed with it, who get on my nerves (though Boston obsessed people totally get on my nerves, so it's not necessarily a NYC thing) but I have learned to like it, and appreciate what it has to offer. Oh yeah, and I really, REALLY like this guy who lives there, LOL.

3 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Al! You sound like Dooce!

I certainly don't know the city well, but I can imagine myself being alone and needing to get somewhere and being able to make it in one piece, which is a far cry from how I used to feel when thinking about what I would do if left alone to find my way: curl up in the fetal position and succumb to death by a pack of flesh-eating wild dogs because trying to find your way through the maze of humanity, buildings and cars in the city was that impossible.

That is so something she would write. I love it! And I loved this whole treatise on your newfound respect for New York too. I totally know what you mean. The more time I spend there, the more I appreciate it, and the less it scares/bothers me. HOWEVER, Boston and London are still better. ;P

Elizabeth

Al said...

heh heh heh agreed about Boston, not sure about London though the 6 hours I spent there were quite lovely, if a little cold, and their public transportation system was DIVINE!

Elizabeth said...

YESSSSSSSS!!! THE TUBE!!!!!! Oh Al, it's heavenly. JUST HEAVENLY. :)