Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I'm trying to get the gumption to pack for Denver, for AWP, later today. It goes way back with me, but I always have a hard time leaving the coast for rocky, dry, high, brushy places. It resists explanation, my only assumption is that it's something primal, written into my circuits. Maybe I was a manatee in a different life.
So to delay the packing a little longer, I decided to take a walk on the High Line, which is just down the street from our apartment. I don't understand why I don't go to the High Line more, given its evident attractiveness and its proximity to us. Trees, flowers, leaves, interesting people to look at, interesting views--somehow the Statue of Liberty looks poignant framed between two buildings, and the view of London Terrace from the north end... Was there ever a more spectacular apartment building? I sat on a bench; I cooked in the sun. Highs in the uppers 80s today, warmer than Orlando, warmer than Miami. I began thinking about how every voice I heard was German, French, or Italian, and I had the realization that Manhattan's transmutation into a tourist and entertainment center--and no longer a place to live--was complete. I felt disturbed by that, until I'd realized I'd been a tourist in every place I'd been--with the exception of three or so days at home--for the last three weeks. Then I had a realization that, as alluring as the High Line is, the real life of New York is not rarified or set off, but down on the streets with the faces: hungry, panicked, clueless, lusting faces. I turned around to look at the Hudson River Park, and thought of the waves slapping against the piers, fresh water mixing with salt just as it spilled into New York Harbor, and beyond. And up from where Florent, the diner, used to be, a smell of warmed food transformed the High Line into a boardwalk.
I wanted to be down there.