Day 1: I was overcome with emotion before I even got inside Central Park. He was wearing a dark plaid green suit with shiny polished leather oxfords and a glossy wood pipe in his mouth; releasing a steady stream of smoke into the atmosphere. I’d say he was in his mid-60s. He was sitting cross legged on a dark green bench on the sidewalk adjacent to the park. He was reading the New York Times. Not on his iPhone or iPad, but the hold-in-your-hands-stretched-out New York Times. My heart just about exploded. He was magnificent. I could have stood there staring, devising a plot line of his life for hours, but he would surely take note of the strange staring stranger, so I kept walking. Into the park I went – hands comfortably tugged into the straps of my backpack (my pants didn’t have pockets). Walking into the park I immediately took notice of how many people were enjoying their Monday – it seemed to me, all of NYC was there. Lounging on the rocks, having business lunch meetings on benches that line the curvy walkways, napping under the trees, and playing fetch with their four legged friends (I even saw a kitty being walked on a leash).
Apparently, even New Yorkers know how to tame the Monday blues.
Day 2: Today has been, in many ways, less emotionally trying and more emotionally triumphant. I stood in grand central station — looking down into the center and contemplating life — for over a couple of hours. I should have expected to have my shoulder poked over 10 times and asked to snap a picture. There was the cute couple (they looked like miniature dolls) visiting from Tokyo on their honeymoon and the German granny taking a ‘Lone Tour’ of America’s east coast. I didn’t plan to do it; I didn’t even plan to go to grand central today. It just sort of happened. I was on the 5 with plans to get off at Union Square (to make a connection) sitting comfortably smashed against the railing when the world’s most beautiful man walked onto train. Tall with navy blue slim fitting slacks, old-school leather suspenders (the ones that button not clip), white long-sleeve button up with a pair of aviators loosely hanging from the collar, a black leather business ‘bag’, shiny brown leather oxfords, and god-like hair that gently caressed his gorgeous face. My long ride from the Bronx was suddenly looking up. Without thinking, when I saw him getting ready to exit the train doors I got up and headed out. My brain quickly caught up to me and I realized I had gotten off at the wrong stop.
The beautiful man disappeared into the crowd and Grand Central quickly became my favorite thinking spot.
Day 3: I went grocery shopping today to keep myself fed while I stay at a friend’s place and search for a more permanent home. Carrying the bag of goodies home via the subway and a couple blocks of walking was literally the highlight of my day. Not because I didn’t do other seemingly more awesome things, but because it made me feel a little less like a tourist.
I wonder when I’ll stop feeling like a visitor.
Day 4: He called himself The Magician. An older Chinese gentleman with a heavy accent– who wore a navy blue beret with a khaki suit and tie. He lives in Brooklyn and likes to make magic. The entire night he walked around doing magic tricks to anyone who would let him.
I didn’t get his real name.
Day 5: Williamsburg: the trendiest city in the world. I wasn’t prepared for the awesome adventures of the day, but sure glad I hadn’t made other plans. Spur of the moment adventures are the greatest. Yummy food & wine and even better company.
The rain eventually came; I didn’t care that my umbrella was nowhere to be found.
Day 6: I’ve been drifting in and out of sleep all day. A dog had been barking for some 3 hours somewhere within earshot of my window, when a man decided to wage war by yelling obscenities at the pup. Neither dog nor man would surrender, but thankfully the rain has lulled the conflict.
Even in NYC, hangovers are not fun.
Day 7: Is it Sunday already? I took this week to worry little and enjoy a lot. There will be plenty of time for overwhelming worry later… today I am overwhelmed with insane gratitude. Everywhere I go in this city, I am constantly surrounded by people. Sure, being crushed between a group of French tourists and the over-worked suit during rush hour will probably get old, but for now I am head-over-heels in love with the constant human contact. Every day I am forced face to face with people from different backgrounds, different cultures, different lives and as much as New Yorkers like to avoid eye contact, there is no way this city would be quite as brilliantly fantastic without the crowds.
The sun came out today.
For some reason, I couldn’t get myself to take many pictures this week. It doesn’t make much sense, but I felt sort of paralyzed with the surreality of this week. I can’t imagine this paralysis will last long. I’ll be sure to post pictures of Week 2. Until then, here is the view from the place I was staying several days this week.