Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back and forth to NYC

It is early Sunday morning and I cannot get a connection on the train on my way back to Baltimore. I hope to transfer what I write later. I spent the evening in New York to see my daughter's 20 minute play and join her for dinner. I did not like the play at all, but I always enjoy walking in the city and absorbing the energy and liveliness that is New York. It was hot today and it seemed that every New Yorker was on the streets soaking in the heat. A huge crowd was gathering around Madison Square Garden waiting to see a concert. I tried to figure out who was playing from the dress and demeanor of the concertgoers, and I finally concluded that it was the remainder of the Grateful Dead. They were mostly younger people with dreadlocks and shabby attire. I remember Grateful Dead concerts ten years ago; the crowd was older, dressed entirely differently, but of course it was in Salt Lake City that I attended Grateful Dead concerts, and Utahns are quite different from New Yorkers. I learned that holding a finger up in the air meant that a person was looking to buy a ticket. There were scalpers about, demanding high prices, and finding customers. The crowd thinned as I walked south from Penn Station. I wandered down Seventh Avenue through Chelsea, and it was delightful to see women dressed in their summer shifts and sandals, and men in shorts and tank tops. The restaurants had tables outside wherever possible and the tables were full of New Yorkers having drinks and dinner al fresco. For a change, New Yorkers were meandering, slowing down, enjoying the warmth. It was sweltering and humid and I was wearing altogether too much. I had taught a class early this morning and had not had a chance to go home and change before I caught the train.

I walked by all sorts of restaurants; Indian, Chinese, Turkish, delis, smoothie bars, diners and more. New Yorkers were enjoying this wonderful day. Bars were full, children and dogs were everywhere, people were going to church and the theatre and the movies. The streets were even more crowded after the play, as more and more New Yorkers were pouring out of their homes to enjoy this lovely evening. My daughter wanted Thai food, so she brought me to a restaurant we had tried once before. I was not very adventuresome so I ordered Pad Thai. I tried to have a conversation with my daughter about her plans for Ecuador, but she did not want to hear my dire warnings or any potential limits on her plans. When I walked back to the train station I got lost for the second time; I had been confused about east and west on my way to the Tisch building, and almost missed the start of the play, and on my way back I approached a police car for directions. As I came up to the car, both police officers took a defensive stance, as if I was about to attack them. I held my hand up and yelled at them form a distance, asking where I was and how to get to the station. I was only a few blocks off, and found my way in time, but then had a 20 minute delay and ending up being early. I have become familiar with Penn Station, this is perhaps the tenth time I have taken the train to New York in the past two years. Taking the train is relaxing and easy, but far more expensive than taking the bus or driving my car.

It is a little outrageous to leave Baltimore at 4 PM for a play and return by 2 AM. Eric is home with May and her friends Belina and Marius. They will be waking up early and wanting pancakes and Eric will want to sleep in. I dare not sleep on the train; if I close my eyes I may not wake up when we stop in Baltimore and it won't be fun to find myself in DC having to figure out how to get home. I parked my car a block away from the train station, and am worried about walking to my car in the dark and with my purse and computer. I am planning to ask a policeman at the station to walk withe me or at least watch me as I walk to my car. More than likely I will just run madly to my car. It is interesting that in New York walking the streets at all hours is not of concern at all; it feels truly safe and welcoming.

Tara has one more week of University at NYU and then she is done! Her second year has passed quickly. She id bound and determined to take advantage of our year in Ecuador, and I pressed her to tell me what she is interested in doing when we are there. She talked about several volunteer organizations, she has been exploring on the web, and plans to go from one to another while she is there. I am not sure how that will turn out, but she will do what she is had to let children go.

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