When you’re riding back to the house after a trip to New York City and you ask the family, “How many days have we been gone,” you know it’s been a full day!
A few interesting things happened today, which I’ll write about later. I’d rather talk in generalities right now, because I’ve renewed my love affair with New York City.
New York is misunderstood by outsiders. Outwardly, it’s gritty and grimy. It’s a place where a subterranean flower shop in a subway station’s vestibule isn’t out-of-place. When you probe New York City a little deeper there’s a lot to like.
Today was the type of day where New York shines. It was partly sunny and comfortably warm – an outdoor day, followed by an outdoor evening.
New York is a city made for being outside. I know that sounds strange, because you think of New York as congested with tall buildings – and it is those things. But because everything’s so close, so at hand, it’s all walkable.
Restaurants that use their outdoor seating 90 days a year, had outdoor seating going today. With Good Friday tomorrow, and many people off from work, street traffic was probably above average.
Tonight, as we walked up 2nd Avenue, a couple sat in an outdoor cafe, their dog next to them. It was that kind of night.
Helaine and I walked with Steffie through areas I frequented when I was 18. That was especially true on St. Marks Place in the East Village.
Back in the late 60s the East Village was coming into its own as the ‘hippie era’ flourished. St. Marks Place was full of counter culture. Greenwich Village (not yet known as the West Village in 1968) was hot. The East Village was coming up, but still very scruffy.
There were record stores and weird little boutiques. You could buy posters in loads of little places.
My Cousin Michael and our mutual friend Larry, would come down for concerts at the Village Theater, which later became the Fillmore East. We saw some unbelievable acts there in that old, decrepit theater, rundown from its days of Yiddish vaudeville and plays.
The Village, East and West, were my first non-parental introduction to Manhattan. I was too naive to imagine how one got to live there, but the whole scene was appealing.
The East Village is more subdued and gentrified now. It’s still got a counter culture feel. Instead of posters shops, I saw a few places offering piercing and tattoos. The restaurants are more upscale than the Blimpies we’d sometimes eat at.
When I see Stef look at New York and appreciate it… maybe even desire it a little (though it’s not her ‘ideal’ destination after college), I can’t help but smile. The city has a sophistication she understands. She is not intimidated by it by any means.
If I had my druthers, and could do it right, I think living in Manhattan would be as good as any life could be. Maybe in my next lifetime.