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2.07.2012

Black tights and tall boots (Observations from The Big Apple)

It's midafternoon and I'm on my way home from New York City after a 24 hour rush business trip. I'd hoped to stay a few days and go to the opera, listen to some jazz, eat good food (ah, to escape from burgers and fries for just one day!) and...you know, do all the things that Manhattan has to offer. But, "what with hell and transmigration" as Archy so aptly put it, I had to cut things short and stick to business.

Landing in Grand Central Station I think about a great scene in the movie The Fisher King where Robin Williams follows his true love around the clock and he's so oblivious to everyone else they appear to be walzing around him. It's beautiful.

I am always amazed at just how many people one can pack into a city. A constant river of souls all flowing by, bubbling around corners and in and out of buildings. I love the strong ethnic mix in the New York crowds, too. People from all over the world sharing their distinct look, style and demeanor. What I hadn't really noticed before was the symphony of languages that pervade the air. Maybe I simply wasn't tuned into in the past but everywhere was a mix of European, Asian, and Carribbean voices with the wash of English.

I found time to play the tourist for one thing only: skating at Rockefeller Center. Since I started skating again, I always thought that would be fun. My mom told me about my great grandfather, who was a figure skater, teaching my older brothers to skate there when I was a baby. I was surprised at how small the rink is. I suppose my imagination had blown it up in size. Last night were the usual skating crowd of amateurs and beginners and a couple of really good performers that were a pleasure to watch. Now, I'm not a good skater but I know my way around a piece of ice. Even so, this was my first skate of the winter and I took it slow. All I could rent were figure skates and one of the toe picks caught on the ice and I tumbled face first like I was flying over a barrel, my arms stretched out like Superman taking off, and landed on my flat on my belly. Ouch - did that hurt. On my way down I could hear gasps and laughs from the onlookers. What an embarrassment. No injury except a banged knee and bruised ego. I haven't fallen like that since I was a kid. I bet some enterprising soul fired it straight up to YouTube titled 'yutzes who shouldn't be allowed on skates'.

This morning, I limped to Grand Central early so I could find some souvenirs for the boys. I was totally amazed that there wasn't one place selling I-heart-NY T shirts, hats, statues of liberty or anything of that kitsch in the whole station and surrounding blocks! I had to really hunt and even then, pickin's was slim. At least I got some exercise and I know they'll like what I did find. Hey- who doesn't like donuts :0)

I guess I'll have to go back again for the opera.