We arrive in New York City at lunch time, heavy packs weighing on our shoulders, like a bad conscious we carry them around for the afternoon, trying to see the city but weighed down with our stuff. If there ever was a pictorial description of the western world, it is us... Carrying packs filled with stuff, inside a city surrounded by wealth. Our packs force us to make decisions about what we will do until we can check in to our apartment.
Check In and Back Again
After finding a laundromat we check in and then catch the subway back into the city. The trains run with out delay, swaying back and forth as it rockets underground.
Times Square is a symbol of all the wealth (read: all that is wrong with advertising), spent in glowing neon signs and moving billboards. People stand on the side walk, yelling to us as we pass by, trying to engage with us so to reveal in their services. A comedy club, a gentleman’s club, fast talking and quick hands trying to gain our attention.
The lights glitter, selling technology, style, fashion, food and sex. The size and scale is appealing and appalling at the same time. Tempting and yet repelling. The smell of flame-grilled steak calls our name, as we begin to feel hungry.
Rockefeller Center has some ice skating on when we get there. Performances by people we do not know. They twist and move gracefully while we look around, finding the flags and the golden statue more interesting. The Centre doesn’t feel as it has the same sense of grandeur as I did while watching the end of Home Alone 2, but the signs made me think of 30 Rock which made me happy.
The skyline above us extends up and up. Buildings towering above us, enclosing in the sky and making it a thin slither of blue between the man made buildings. God has an obstructed view of what happens on the streets around New York.
The Empire State building has a classic noir feeling, marble floors, hard edges corners, I feel using the word “Baby” at the end of my sentences. There are straight lines everywhere. Hard edges, hard marble.
Another security checkpoint. Another line. Standing in line to see a nice view feels like a waste of time. Stand, wait, move forward a little. Step by step, edging toward the elevators.
80 floors. A few seconds. A wonderful view. The lights from below sparkle, mile after mile they stretch out toward the horizon. Takings photo doesn't give enough charm to the scenery. We stand as the wind blows from the south, whistling against the thin metal cage. We walk around the side to see as much of the horizon as we can.
There is another line to stand in going down.
I am familiar with Central Park from the first Ninja Turtles movie. The blue stone fence brought back memories from when Casey Jones attacked some low-life scum-bags.
I am amazed by the contrast of the city against the park. The paths stretch for kilometres, running around lakes, beside roads and around baseball fields, and yet on every side the park we are surrounded by a concrete jungle, apartments and places of business that stretch into the sky.
Bullets Over Broadway
There has always been some part of me that didn’t like the idea of watching a Broadway musical. I do not know if it was because of the years I spent growing up with my sisters doing calisthenics, or because I had never taken the chance to spend a few hours watching a show.
A fast talking man approached us about getting tickets. He approached us while we were watching the Broadway price listing tick over, sliding up close by and asking a quick question to a pair of suckers. He suggested a few shows, trying to fast talk us into tickets. “You sure you wanna see something like that one? We have some cheep tickets to a comedy show, or a gentleman’s club” - I guess we look either cheap or on a night out away from our wives.
No. We tell him that we were trying to decide what to see, the pressure of a sale never motivates us to make a purchase. “I understand. Look, I have some tickets here to a show called Bullets Over Broadway, Woody Allan wrote it, That Guy from Scrubs has a lead role. Funny and serious, right up your alley. Tickets half price - whadda say?”
No cash, no worries. He would walk us down to the closest ATM and stand by while we get money out. While Roger got the cash I searched the internet to try determine if they were a credible company - with no results.
Everything about this situation felt odd, a forced sale with a motivated salesman. Despite the uneasiness we purchased the tickets, figuring if they were worthless we’d have a story. For the remainder of the afternoon, before the show, we were worried if out money had been exchanged for fake tickets.
We ended up being in the orchestra rows. Sitting on the floor with a great view of the performance. Bullets Over Broadway was entertaining, the songs were fantastic and catchy (you can see one here Let’s Misbehave I enjoyed Helene’s accent). It was a good introduction into musicals and I am very glad we went.
A quick morning train ride and we are standing in line for a Cronut. A fried croissant-doughnut pastry that looks like a a thousand leaves of glorious food. It is supposed to be amazing, but I am thinking about how my hips are going to look, surrounded by more fried food. I will make a resolution to catch up on exercise when we get home.
We stood in line, waiting and hoping that we would be allowed to get some. There is a line every morning until the limited number of Cronuts are sold. We were in the last batch, four people from the end of the line, but went in under the understanding that we may miss out.
It was not to be and we got the second last pair of Cronuts. We sat at a table with chess embedded in the concrete, sitting below bare trees with tiny, new buds, the sun shines in a street basketball court behind us. The Cronut is the king of all fried goods. The pastry is fantastic, encasing a pineapple gel the drips from inside. The sugar, the scenery and sitting in New York. New York.
I realise once again, sitting there with Roger, that we are doing something grand. We are in New York. New York. The city that has songs named after it. New York, on a Saturday morning eating Cronuts.