Saturday, November 29, 2008
Fantastic Glorious Mess
from The Colossus of New York: A City in 13 Parts
No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, That used to be Munsey's, or, That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge. That before the internet cafe plugged itself in, you got your shoes resoled in the mop-and-pop operation that used to be there. You are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.
You start building your private New York the first time you lay eyes on it. Maybe you were in a cab leaving the airport when the skyline first roused itself into view. All your worldly possessions were in the trunk, and in your hand you held an address on a piece of paper. Look: there's the Empire State Building, over there are the Twin Towers. Somewhere in that fantastic glorious mess was the address on a piece of paper, your first home here. Maybe your parents dragged you here for a vacation when you were a kid and towed you up and down the gigantic avenues to shop for Christmas gifts. The only skyscrapers visible from the legs of your stroller were the legs of adults, but you got to know the ground pretty well and started to wonder why some sidewalks sparkle at certain angles and others don't. Maybe you came to visit your old buddy, the one who moved here last summer, and there was some mix-up as to where you were supposed to meet. You stepped out of Penn Station into the dizzying hustle of Eighth Avenue and fainted. Freeze it there: that instant is the first brick in your city.
Friday Night, November 28:
--Skaters at Rockefeller Center
--Bergdorf's Window #1
--Trees Outside Tavern on the Green
--Bergdorf's Window #2