When I’m in New York, I always:
Light a candle in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Eat a hot dog, loaded, from a street vendor.
Have a drink at Harry’s Bar in the Helmsley Park Lane.
Visit the Temple of Dendur and the mummies at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Walk a lot. I arrived at my mid-town hotel around 6pm east coast time, having awakened at 5am in Seattle to pull everything together for my flight. I should have been tired, but no matter. The energy of the street beckoned. Out I went, five blocks west and 16 blocks north, before I was even aware how far afield I was going. The 16 blocks were the numbered ones, the shorter ones. But I still made my 10,000 steps for the day, which I don’t usually do on a travel day. Ten thousand steps is a little over four miles; 4-6 miles is my daily goal.
There are some notable things missing from the list of what I usually do. I don’t shop, and this is the shopping capitol of the world. I don’t do cultural things, not every time, although I do sometimes. Cultural things are more sparse in the summer. But beyond that, remember that I’m a Jersey girl at heart, born and bred in blue collar Kearny. My mother dropped out of high school — not her choice, but the Depression and the needs of younger siblings made it necessary for her to work. My father dropped out of college after two years, wanting to be a doctor but running out of money. He was a supervisor at Dupont, a chemical plant, which sounds like soul-killing work when you wanted to be a healer. Our musical exposure was Lawrence Welk. Our cultural entertainment was the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights. My mother wrote and acted in plays for the PTA, but although we lived about half hour from New York, we never went to theater there. Surely we didn’t have the money. But did the half hour bus ride also seem too far to them, too alien?
I returned to the hotel tired but happy. I can’t believe that my life will end with my never having lived in New York, a city that I love. I doubt the opportunity will come to move here now. The time would have been right after college. Some of the English majors — I was a philosophy major with a minor in English — went to New York to work in entry level publishing jobs, the kind that no longer exist, or in advertising/marketing. I went in the Peace Corps. I don’t regret that for a moment, but it did take me on a different path.