New York! October 19, 2007
I have been in New York for three days. I love this city. I love, love, love it. Isn't it a cliche? The writer HAS to love New York (only I know writers who don't). But I thought I did, and I was right.
This is the longest span of time I've spent here -- the previous two times I've been through Manhattan were also attached to yarn things (Maryland Sheep and Wool, specifically), and I only spent a day in town both times.
But this time, I've had time to really see the city, and it does not fail me, even though the humidity is at seven hundred percent or something. Man, hot and wet in New York is like nothing else -- it's like the tar of the streets hangs from your skin and the exhaust coats your lungs. I don't love that so much.
But that just meant that yesterday, the day I had to myself, the day I wanted to woo the city and it ended up wooing me, I had to slowly to beat the sweatiness -- had to stop frequently for an iced coffee here, an iced tea there.
I've been staying with Maia and Brooke at the most amazing apartment in the whole world -- it's her father and step-mom's place, and her dad is the famous Paul Discoe and designed the whole thing. In Cooper Square, it has amazing views of the city, and for the love of pete, it has a contemplative garden. Indeed.
So yesterday I woke up, had coffee with the girls, and started walking. I walked down St. Marks (yes, we're on St. Marks -- just think!) and saw a cafe that looked perfect, people eating outside, dogs at their feet. I hadn't even planned to have a sit-down breakfast; I was just going to grab a bagel, but this was great.
The waitress brought me eggs and toast and orange juice and a cappucino, and I watched these two men talk. They moved between English and Spanish, and they looked totally happy.
And they were so friendly! They talked to everyone, and everyone talked back, and six of us at nearby tables got in a conversation about their gig they'd played the night before. They are both guitars players, one from Brazil, and one from Uruguay, and they'd had a magical session at a close-by club, and they'd never gone to bed, just wandered and ended up at this cafe, reliving the night.
The Uruguayan, Oscar, had seen me scribbling in my book before my food came, and he asked if I was a writer. I said yes, and he said he was, too, and wasn't New York the best for inspiration? Yes, I said, it really was.
He asked me what I wrote.
Then I had this amazing moment. I said I wrote books. "I have a novel that's being read by Simon & Schuster right now, in fact."
He nodded and said, "Of course, that is why you're in New York."
Holy cow! It's true! It may never be true again, and it's only true until the 30th of this month, but right now I can totally say what I said, and IT WAS SUCH A THRILL.
Oscar and friend
I rode that moment the rest of the day -- I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge as a writer, and walked back, looking at the city as writer.
I walked through the East Village into Greenwich Village on a cloud of delight. A cloud of hot, sticky delight, but delight, nonetheless.
I made friends with the owner of the Stonewall Inn and had a Manhattan.
In front of the poster of the first gay pride march/riot.
I walked past a huge line of people queued outside a store, so I got in line. I figured that many people had a real reason to be there, and it turned out I was right -- it was the Magnolia Bakery, the two cupcakes I bought and ate in the park across the street were amazing.
Michelle came into town and picked us up for a drink -- we went to St. Mark's again, and she showed us the most secret wonderful bar ever, and then she took me to Brooklyn, where I had one of those perfect, never-forgettable meals (oh, lamb shank with herb-infused gnocchi and spinach, how I love thee) with fantastic conversation and fast-flowing wine. I believe the restaurant was called Chez Oskar or something like that, so it strikes me that my day was book-ended with meals involving an Oscar.
On the Brooklyn Bridge
And today, we're taking the train to Rhinebeck! O, glory-beaming New York Sheep and Wool. CanNOT wait. But sad to leave the city so soon.....
At Katz's. I don't even like pastrami, and this was the best sandwich I ever had.