Jess Hutch.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

new york

subway

Jeff and I got back from New York City a few days ago. I spent a summer there about ten years ago as an intern at the Cloisters museum, but I hadn't been back since. It was more fantastic than I had remembered - the city feels alive, somehow. In fact, when I left, it felt like leaving a person rather than a city. How's that for anthropomorphizing?

I saw and did so many things - it was one of those weeks that felt like a decade and a minute at the same time - so I'll just share little observations:

* My favorite places in NY for a moment of calm: Trinity Church cemetery; Fort Tryon Park near the Cloisters; an air-conditioned subway car. Bliss.

* The subway in NY is one of the best things ever. They took me where I wanted to go when my feet weren't up to the task. Which was surprisingly infrequent, Jeff and I walked for miles and miles and miles. That's mostly what we did.

* Humidity makes hot weather less bearable. There, I said it.

* A frosty beer makes hot weather more bearable.

* I saw Amy Sedaris on the street one day, after thinking before I left that she would be the one celebrity I would want to see in NY. I saw a small, cute woman walking toward me wearing really cool black-framed glasses. I thought "ooh, that's a good look." As she got closer I recognized her - I must have had the weirdest look on my face - she looked at me with this sort of amused expression. She is a total STAR, and I'm so glad I got to see her.

* Coney Island is sort of sad and lovely... a mere shadow of its former glory. It is apparently under threat of massive redevelopment. Please, rich real estate people, keep some of the weirdness.

* Shared bathrooms are fine, as long as the other people on your floor have their stuff together. It's a social contract, folks, we're all in it together.

* Looking at art inspires me to make art.

* I like tall buildings.

* Jeff and I love discovering the history of cities - while we were there he bought a paperback copy of Low Life by Luc Sante and we spent the rest of the trip pointing out various sites of long-gone buildings and neighborhoods. This is one of the best parts of traveling... visiting these odd little corners that generally aren't marked by a sign... you just have to know that 50, 100, 200+ years ago some very interesting people did something interesting there. Or just lived there and did their quotidian thing. Pointing this stuff out makes me feel very grounded and connected to the place I'm visiting. You just sense the layers of history and memory.

* Or maybe that's just me.

* I had a delicious knish at Yonah Schimmel's on Houston, along with a delicious pickle and a delicious egg cream. Oh, so delicious.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Thanks New York, for showing us a good time.

8 Comments:

At 8:35 PM , Chrissa said...

Great recap of your trip - it sounds like you saw/experienced lots of cool little details and corners of the city. Also, how cool that you a) once worked at the Cloisters, and b) saw Amy Sedaris. I like that she saw you seeing her.

Do you happen to recall that Sesame Street muppet song and dance "On the Subway"? It's what runs through my head every time I'm on the subway in New York, and your picture with its retro tones makes me think about it all over again.

 
At 7:46 AM , maritza said...

Glad to hear you had a great time. NYC always breaks my heart a little, maybe because I grew up there and have seen so much change (and so much history destroyed in the name of development). I'm glad to hear that Yonah Schimmel's is still there - they do make the best knishes.

 
At 8:09 AM , Stephy said...

Ahhh, Yonah Schimmel's. I make the pilgrimage every time I visit NYC.

Also, I loved reading "Low Life", although it's been a few years. There's a spot in Chinatown (Doyers Street) that was known for ambushes that I always like to point out when we make the other pilgrimage to Nom Wah Tea House.

The past really isn't past in the Lower East Side.

OK, now I have to find some time to visit myself!

 
At 10:00 AM , Katie said...

The next place I live will absolutely be some place less humid (I live in Boston right now). I'm thinking Colorado and west.

Glad you had a good time in NY.

 
At 4:06 AM , PG said...

I have yearned to visit NY for years...you make it sound as interesting and vibrant as I always imagined. Now I must go and get a copy of Low Life, which I have never heard of, just to satisfy the hunger...

 
At 8:11 PM , Alicia P. said...

Thank you for sharing that. I have never been to New York so I love reading about it for "real" and not just on TV.

 
At 3:05 PM , tania said...

i love your NYC re-cap!
i bet if amy sedaris knew it was you she would tell you "i like you"
she would go nuts for your stuff, or so i imagine!
:)

 
At 8:13 AM , LLA said...

I love your description of "it felt like a decade and a minute at the same time" - that really sums it up nicely...

And how fab (out of all the fabulosity that you describe) that you got to see Amy Sedaris?

And you're fab that you didn't fall at her feet, hyperventilating and slavering "I love you! I love you!" until security was alerted. Because I am sure that I would not have been able to stop myself from doing so...

 

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