(For the purposes of this post, please pretend it is last Saturday. Blogging has been a little lax recently.)
[A new acquaintance] asked me, in which city, out of all I had seen, I would prefer to make my home. And when I answered “New York,” it surprised them so much that I had to explain why, and did so with real enthusiasm until one of them interrupted to ask me, “If you are so in love with your own land, why do you write about places abroad? Why not make a book of all these things you have been telling us?” I told him that I wrote about places abroad because I liked places abroad, but just the same, he had an idea there, and maybe some day I would do something about it.
-Cue’s Guide to New York City, Foreword
Last day in New York and it’s a short one; our plane leaves at six. But that still leaves enough time for one last adventure, and it just so happens that we have one on tap. There is something called the “Ninth Avenue international food festival” going on today, which sounds like just our thing. Even better, it’s walking distance from the hotel. So we checked out, paid the insanely outrageous hotel bill (six nights on my credit card, three on Mom’s) left the luggage with the clerk, and headed off to the party.
Which looked a lot like the Solano Stroll, only with more people selling socks. Seriously, socks. Also something called “mozarepas” which seem to have something to do with cheese and corn. Still not sure about that one. There did seem to be a lot of businesses represented which were not exactly local, in the sense of being trailers with Massachusetts plates. But others were, like the booth in front of the fish market selling, among other things, oysters and fried soft-shell crabs. Turns out I really like soft-shell crabs.
Other notable stops: A restaurant which had set out tables within listening distance of the main stage (a really very good high school jazz band was playing) where we bought drinks mainly for the privalege of use their restroom; a booth for a local theater school selling some very cool Broadway memorabilia; and the Clinton Community Garden (“Clinton” is apparently what people who don’t like cool stuff call Hell’s Kitchen), which also had a booth, where we got some nifty t-shirts and directions to see the garden, not usually open to the public, which was lovely. I could see how having somewhere like that would almost make living in such a densely packed place bearable.
Almost, but not quite. My final, highly original take on New York is, it’s a great (if expensive) place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there. (Unless I had absolutely vast amounts of money. Then it would be fun.) Too many people, too much pavement, too much rushing around, not enough space. I had a great time, and I’d love to go back and just kind of hang out, instead of trying to see all the sights, but I’m glad to be coming home to somewhere where the world is bigger than one city and “open space” doesn’t mean a few acres of heavily-landscaped land with traffic noise from all sides.
Be it ever so full of crazy old hippies, there’s no place like home.