Today, (Wed) I had two appointments in the city. I love my city days, especially when it’s as nice out as it was today. I decided to make a day of it. This is what I heard and saw.
The 5 train is always crowded. People are rude. They don’t smell too good either. A three-man doo-wop group got on and sang a gospel song. They were really good. I gave them a buck. At Nevins street, a dude with a bag full of sandwiches and chips and juices boxes got on. He was collecting for the homeless coalition of something or other. He looked shady and had a nasty disposition when no one gave him anything. I didn’t give him anything either.
After my first appointment on 36th and Park, I walked up to Grand Central to catch the shuttle. On my way, I saw a dude sitting on the steps of a church. He asked for some change, so I gave him a buck. I was gonna give him a book too, but he didn’t look like much of a reader.
I like the Times Square Shuttle. It’s a funny line. People act like it’s a regular train. The rush to catch it and scurry to find a seat. Relax babe. It’s only one stop, another one comes in 3 minutes.
I walked up the West Side to my other appointment. Lots of people on the West Side. It’s like it’s a different world from Murray Hill. I wonder if tourists notice the difference in the neighborhoods.
At 63rd street, I see Alan Alda crossing the street. I try and catch up to him to hand him a book, but the traffic won’t let me pass and he jumps into a waiting car. He will never know how close to literary greatness he was.
I get to my second appointment and Marv Albert comes walking out of the building. Marv is just gonna have to buy the book.
I go the ENT Plastic Surgeon to discuss my surgery. He asks if I want to straighten the nose while he’s in there. I decline. The bend shows character.
I leave and decide to walk for a few blocks. I have no plan. I just walk. There are about 6 outdoor cafes on Columbus Ave. I want to stop at all of them and have a cocktail to celebrate life. Then it dawns on me that the only reason I can celebrate life is because I don’t drink. I couldn’t afford a cocktail in those joints anyway.
I cut across at 60th through Columbus Circle. It’s another world there too. Lots of people looking up. I remember looking up as a kid. I don’t do that anymore. Now I just watch the people. Everyone seems to be on the phone and chattering away. No one seems to notice anyone else. I think there was a twilight zone episode like this.
I walk down Broadway and head through Times Sq. LOTS of tourists still come to NY, and all of them want to go see Mama Mia. Despite the cleanup of Times Sq, there is still plenty of hustle going on. Lots of people hawking everywhere. I must have heard, “You like comedy?” about 30 times. I look for a 3 card monte, but I don’t see one. Maybe over towards 8th.
One Jamaican dude offers to sell me watches “Hey Mon. Look, Rolex. Movado. The reel ting.” I respond, “Dude, I’m from Brooklyn.” He says “Oh.” and closes his case.
Some woman is walking and looking up at the same time. She crashes into a dude. She says shes sorry. Someone else says. “Pay attention Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore.” I nearly piss myself.
I cut across the duece and head to Bryant Park. It’s a gorgeous day. There are people everywhere; sipping iced coffee, sunning themselves, shoes off, shirts open. Everyone is on their cell phone. I decide to take a lap. This is some of the snippets that I heard as I walk.
“So, hows you and the wife? Getting along?
“It’s call Morantz. It’s an Irish restaurant.”
“I’m due in June. I can’t wait to get this baby out of me.”
“I’m telling you. Its gonna go up.”
I notice that there is a lending library right in the park. Rolling book shelves right there in the open. What a great idea. What a great opportunity. I ask the coordinator if I can leave a book. He says, “Sure. Sign it. Leave a message.” I do. I thank him and I head south to the train.
I jump on the train at 34th street. I catch an “N”, but it’s running on the local track in Manhattan. This pisses me off. I manage to get a seat at 23rd street. At 14th street, a woman gets on. She looks like she’s got a basketball under her shirt. I nod to her and giver her my seat. She thanks me. Somewhere, my mama is happy. When she gets off, she thanks me again. I think about giving her a book, but she’s gone in a flash.
I make it back to Bay Ridge fairly quickly. I get off at Bay Ridge Ave, and I am immediately stuck by how filthy it is on 4th Ave. There is litter everywhere. How is it possible that Times Square is cleaner than Bay Ridge?