Sunday, June 11, 2006

Observing New York City on a Cool June Weekend

So, I was in New York from Thursday until today....and if there's one thing that stood out for me, it is that the people of NYC are a heck of a lot thinner than most of the folks out where I live. I blame it on mass transit. New York City has the best mass transit system of any city in the United States.
Residents don't even need to own cars (and when a space in a garage could run as much as rent for a studio apartment, not to mention insurance, why bother?) But mass transit doesn't make door-to-door stops, so everyone has to walk just a bit to get to where they need to go.

A couple of years ago, I heard somewhere that the average New Yorker walks close to 5 miles a day. Five might be a bit much, but the average New Yorker walks a heck of a lot more miles than the average suburb-dweller.

Another thing about New York...I'd rather watch a slightly weird French film and a seriously bizarre Guy Madden short in the
oddly reclined seating at the IFC Film Center (which used to be the Waverly Theater on 6th Ave.) than anything new at the local super-clean stadium-seated googleplex....

and later discover a really cool, very dark, rather small bar in Greenwich Village where they serve a rather nice, reasonably-priced shiraz and lovely small pannini sandwiches...after 10p.m.

I'd also like to know what it is about men in NYC and women in cowboy boots. Or, more specifically, me in cowboy boots. For some strange reason, when I wear my cowboy boots (similar to these) with a skirt, a whole lot of men say hello to me. And I don't me just "hi." I mean "hel-lo!" and turning around and watching me walk down the street, staring, and continuing to say hello to get my attention....

I don't get it. I certainly don't look like a drag queen, and I'm not in my 20's (like the two other people I saw wearing cowboy boots) So, if there's some strange super-secret code thing about a woman in a pair of black cowboy boots in New York City, I'd like someone to give me a clue. Nothing worse than being clueless in a city where I've always had more than just the average clue.

It's just funny because, around here, nobody bats an eyelash. Not that a woman in a skirt and cowboy boots is all that ubiquitous around here either.

Dinner in New York can be a low-key deal at a diner, or it can be a big, expensive to-do at an historic restaurant. On Thursday, I ended up in an historic restaurant that I didn't know was historic until after I left. I chose Patsy's Restaurant because I felt like Italian food. It took a bit for all the autographed photos and the waiters in white jackets and the smell of fresh lilies to register with me that I was eating in a place where reservations are usually required. But I was a single female, and they were hospitable. I sat at a small table underneath a beautiful flower arrangement, had my Grey Goose martini (straight up), my Cesar salad (but they forgot the anchovies) and three-ravioli entree like I belonged there. Why not? I might not live there, by New York's my Home.

I think, though, the best thing about Patsy's was the snippets of conversations I kept catching....two little girls who love Italian food, a couple on their way to a play, and a bunch of media guys. The media guys' conversation was possibly the funniest. They kept turning and staring at an autographed picture of some young, scantily clad starlet, while one guy talked about how his wife is obsessed with movie stars. "She reads People and Us religiously," he says, "she tells me everything about who's doing what...she knew that Jennifer Aniston shot a scene from her new movie right down the street from where we live..." He sounded rather bored with his wife's obsession, and I thought of interrupting the conversation with a bit of womanly advice along the lines of "well, if you don't like her talking about celebrities,why don't you be a man and give your wife something else to talk about," but I figured that'd be just a tad too bitchy and decided to keep that little thought to myself. Besides, I was having way too much fun just listening. It was like dinner and a show.

This morning, before leaving, I got to watch a World Cup Game--the Netherlands and Serbia/Montenegro. Sure, I could watch the World Cup here if I chipped in for ESPN. Watching it in New York, though, brings back some bittersweet memories--like walking down West 45th Street and remembering the last time I was there was to see Show Boat with my ex. It's a similar thing with the World Cup--last time I watched a World Cup game was with him, when we went to several of the games at the Meadowlands in 1994. Twelve years later, I'm watching the World Cup in an hotel in New York City, and I'm very content to have figured out that I'm watching it for my own enjoyment and not (like many women) because it's the interest of the man in my life.

I wasn't prepared to leave New York today--but, as I mentioned, I don't live there. Hotels are expensive. So, it's back to Western Mass. Although you can bet that I'm thinking of ways to get myself back way or another...

postcard photo courtesy of Penny Postcards from New York

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