Saturday, December 16, 2006

Travel Blog, Day 3

December 16

Yesterday was busy and exhilarating…punctuated by jackhammers, honks from taxi horns, and the music of secular Xmas piped into every restaurant and building lobby. (I called it “Xmas” rather than “Christmas” to sound secular, even though “X” is an ancient symbol for Christ, like the fish. Just wanted you to know I know that.)

Weather unseasonably seasonable for New York at this time of the year. Makes it easier getting around, but boy did I pack the wrong clothes! All it means is a suitcase of heavy sweaters, scarfs, etc., but they’ll all be used before the trip is over. Cold is on the way -- and I'm on my way upstate tomorrow.

I got quite familiar with the inside of Starbuck’s. Went at least four times and was worried about all that coffee so the last time I ordered green tea, which was cheap and is supposed to be good for you. The visits were precipitated by need to use the facilities (not the bathroom but the Wireless Internet Connection. My laptop informed me that I could get ONE DAY FREE for only $9.95 if I signed up for the special. How $9.95 is free when the one at the airport is only $6.65 (and doesn't claim to be free) I don’t know but there you have it.

Got to know this neighborhood pretty well. It is not what it was when I lived up on the West Side in the 1970’s or down in the Village in the mid-80’s. New York has cleaned up. New buildings. Scaffolding on all the old ones. Money seems to be pouring in. There are expensive designer shops a few blocks away no matter where you are in the city.

Visited an old friend who looks as young as ever and lives in a classy apartment down in the Wall Street area. She tells me the financial district is the next new thing, the only even vaguely affordable neighborhood in town. Well, in New York everything is the next new thing, life revolves around always being in the know and ahead of the trend. We walked around the stock exchange neighborhood, including the Fulton Fish Market, which is being upgraded and will be the next new thing. She got me a discount ticket for an adorable off-Broadway musical that is slated to close soon. It was breathtaking -- the energy and talent on that stage, the wonderful timely script, and the whole new theatre complex called the New Stage Theater or something like that. All underground, like a little Cineplex only not so cheesy, little 100-seat houses, all with interesting odd little plays and musicals.

My friend says the city is enjoying kind of a boom. She says that after 9/11 the city poured tons of money into upgrading certain depressed areas and seeing that attractions abounded all over town. It looks it. And wonder of wonders, it worked. New York is in an up cycle -- come soon and see for yourself. In ten years it might be quite different.

Here I am hogging a seat at Starbuck's (which I'm growing to despise, actually) as a huge crowd has moved in and is waiting in line. I thought Saturday there would not be a rush hour.

One more day in this town and then I'm off to beautiful downtown Newark!

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