Thursday, October 25, 2012
It was a short and fleeting moment though it did not make it any less special. Right outside of my window it happened. Millions of people crowd the streets of New York in the five o' clock hour and even more on 34th street. But my window was treated. I could have missed it. Small things like that happen rarely, otherwise their presence would not be esteemed. A red balloon drifted slowly up from the sidewalks of the city. It's possible that it slipped from a child's grasp, or even got loose from a bundle being carried off to a celebration. Nonetheless it was a moment that brought me joy on this grey day in New York City.
Currently Listening: "Girl with the Red Balloon" by The Civil Wars
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A turn of events, including my roommate losing her wallet, dispensed a small bit of cash into my wallet. It was one of those days when a treat was bound to happen. I had been scoping out this small coffee shop named "Neil's" on the corner of Lexington and 70th and I had a feeling that today would be the day. I passed it on my walk into work and resisted the urge. I only had a few minutes before eleven and a treat is meant to be enjoyed and not rushed.
I worked throughout the morning, answering phone calls and making appointments. The office is small, but at times I feel like we are in a call center with phones ringing off of the hooks. I learned how to check out patients after their appointments and revisited the importance of providing completely accurate information. The work is not difficult. Challenging would be the best description of my tasks. We are an interesting people. We can be rather demanding and forget how we make others feel. At other times we are light-hearted without a care in the world. My preference would be the latter. It was five 'til one and it was my turn for lunch.
I hastened to the coat closet to pick up my purse and I was out the door. My light steps carried me to Lexington Avenue and I meandered in. Neil's is a small diner-like restaurant. The entry way is tiny and only allows for one person to enter, or exit, at a time. An old-fashioned counter greeted me just inside the door and I meekly asked the hostess if they served coffee to go. The register she stood behind was old; an antique piece that I was surprised still worked. She punched in the totals for customers and the numbers rolled through until landing on the correct sequence. She smiled as a man approached the register and said with a thick European accent that I would like some coffee to-go. He asked in a similar accent, "you want a cappuccino with sugar?" I nodded and he hurried off while motioning towards a seat at the counter. I slid onto the stool and took a look around. The lady to my right was reading the morning paper and enjoying what looked like a "croque-monsieur"which in French means a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with cheese also melted over the top. She looked up only for a second to acknowledge me and shift her papers but quickly resumed reading. Breakfast pastries filled containers atop the counter. Pictures of famous stars were framed as a border near the ceiling, all authenticated by autographs. Behind the counter, the man worked at his espresso machine to hand-craft my cup. He knocked the used grounds into the trash and poured fresh ones into his mechanism. He steamed my milk to perfection and sweetened the drink with prudence. To finish the feat, he dashed cinnamon on the frothed milk that settled perfectly at the rim. "Four dollars for the lady," he said. And it was worth every penny.
Treats like these do not happen often. My checking account would scarcely allow it. Every once in a while it is good. Not to mention the pumpkin granola bar I snatched up for a snack complemented the cinnamon in my coffee as if they were sold as a pair. Without a chain or franchise to choose from, I am forced to look for locally-owned establishments in the seventies. I have yet to be disappointed.
Currently Listening: (rain falling on the city; my roommates are sleeping.)
Friday, October 19, 2012
The unfortunate part of this tale is that this is the weekend before midterms and my scholarly heart never ceases to be overwhelmed. I feel ridiculous working so hard not to crumble under the pressure to do well. This is because as quickly as ominous tests are placed on my desk, they are then gone and all of the knowledge I have received and information I have pored over finds its way onto my paper in a somewhat orderly fashion. I know I will not fail. A healthy amount of fear never hurts to keep me buried in this semester's text and notes. The fortunate aspect is this beautiful gathering of flowers, sweets and pumpkins that rings in the fall season. I just want to make every recipe that involves pumpkin, spice, cinnamon and apples. I want to wander through an apple orchard, eating a warm apple pie with a hot cider in hand. It surrounds the season. It is what fall is made of.
And so I return to my reviewing.
Currently Listening: (Nothing at the moment, for the pleasure of music is too distracting)
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The air is cold now. Scarves are a necessity rather than a fashionable accessory and my hands need to be warmed from the walks outside. It is months like these when I feel the absence of my sweet friend; one whose hands are always warm. That saying about the one that has cold hands is the one with a warm heart can only go so far. In my experience, it is possible to have both. I walk down the street next to Central Park when I am on the way home from work. I get to see small pieces of the zoo and parts of the field where people rest and read. The leaves are beginning to change and the trees sway their branches in the wind allowing the sun to peek through.
Some days I just want to walk. It is a long trek to go from 70th to 34th; though some days it feels like it only takes a minute. With the right shoes and coat, one could walk anywhere. The smell of the sugared nuts wafts through the air as I pass the street vendors and each time I tell myself, "next time I will give in." Elderly couples hold hands while taking their afternoon stroll and the young hustle to their next generation. There must be something that we miss at this age. Perhaps we do not learn enough from the generation that was before us.
At 59th I give in and head down into the subway station. This is partly due to the fact that passing "Strand" bookstore that sets up their booths just past the station is always too tempting. So onto Midtown I travel. I would recommend having a few dollars on hand when taking the long way home. A treat never hurts the journey.
I hope this travels from cold hands to warm hearts. Enjoy the fall.
Currently Listening: "Homesick" by Kings of Convenience (How Fitting.)
Monday, October 15, 2012
One afternoon I took the six line uptown until I arrived at 68th street. I walked up the stairs, out of the subway station, and was surrounded by a large group of twenty-somethings engaged in conversation and lighting up cigarettes. The brisk air and beginnings of fall had people wrapped in scarves with their jackets stiffly zipped up over the layers of clothing. The free hands of the smokers were shoved into pockets trying to avoid the cold. Much of the city is filled with the stench of tobacco that rises up and out of the glowing, amber ashes. With a remnant of smoke in my nose, I decided to continue North towards the seventies and so I went up Lexington Avenue. Once I passed 70th street, the demographics changed and I was surrounded by only mothers, or nannies, with some young children. One little girl in a pink coat and tennis shoes called out to “Rosie,” who I assume was her nanny, asking her to wait while she practiced her dance routine in the reflection of the Juicy Couture display windows. The little girl showed no admiration for the items lit up behind the glass and I could not help but wonder how long it would be before that changed. Rosie graciously waited for the routine to get to the exciting finale and clapped for the girl as though it were the first time she had seen the show. Rosie clasped her coat at her neck and took the girl’s hand and they headed East.
I decided to weave in and out of the avenues and streets to see more of the architecture in the area. The buildings were lower there and had an array of designs. Tall, glass-covered buildings from Midtown and the financial district were replaced with slivers of various colonial-style houses. It looked as though someone had cut portions out of those large homes and spliced them together on the streets of the seventies. Some sections were made of brick and some of stone, which created a small sense of individuality. With such small space in the city, there is little room for gardens and certainly no room for a backyard. Some of the steps leading up to the houses were adorned with bright yellow and burnt orange mums and round pumpkins greeted visitors at the doors. The buildings were inviting. It felt like communities of people lived in these homes unlike the thousands of people that simply coexist on hundreds of floors in apartment buildings across midtown.
I suddenly noticed the vacancy of the streets as I walked. There were no people. It could have been due to the time of day that I decided to go, but it was strange. The further North I meandered, the less city noise I heard. Car horns were replaced with a restful silence. I could even hear the click of the green lights changing to yellow and then red. Yellow taxis turned into black, private car-service vehicles and I felt the cold air settling into my coat. I was traveling towards 75th street when I looked to my right and noticed a coffee shop with a sign saying “Joe.” I chose to purchase their seasonal hot apple cider and was relieved to find that I had a few dollars in my wallet to pay at the cash-only establishment. Back out into the cold, I held my cup close and continued North. Extravagant boutiques lined the streets and I looked at the merchandise knowing I could never afford it and would never have an occasion to wear such attire.
That part of town pulled me out of the rush of Midtown and provided an atmosphere of slower pace and leisure. I enjoyed the lower buildings. It was a friendly part of town and I felt less like a number and more like a person.
Currently Listening: "One Red Thread" by Blind Pilot