Here are some casual New York observations/ happenings that might interest you:
Apparently the New York equivalent of winter boots is rubber rain boots. Everything is so wet and slushy and dirty after it snows, and rain boots seem to be the only way of keeping dry. Because of the crown in the roads, little lakes of standing water park themselves right at the corner where you need to walk to cross the street. As a result, little tiny paths through the (gigantic) banks of snow have formed where everyone tries to squeeze through. Note to self: buy rain boots.
You know that moment you sometimes have with a person walking the opposite direction in which neither of you can decided which way to go and there’s an awkward sort of shifting back and forth? I had that moment with a pigeon the other day.
I’m kind of in love with the subway. It’s like a strange catacomb world down there. Just the concept of whizzing around beneath the city is fascinating to me. It probably helps that I have little to no sense of smell unless I am very actively trying to smell something. It makes me feel confident when I’m able to navigate the subway system, when it took me so long to figure out how to get around Portage! Without a GPS, one is forced to become self-sufficient. Also, the subway is an interesting setting for impromptu street musicians, such as the guy playing “Single Ladies” on the saxophone at the Chambers street station, or the two guys with drums who actually boarded the train and played while on our way to the next stop.
Snow does, in fact, follow me everywhere I go whether I like it or not. I have now weathered the coldest day New York has seen since 2005, and more snow than it has seen since I don’t know when! Even though I’m not always the biggest fan of snow, it’s breathtakingly beautiful when the snow is falling in the city—I feel like I’m in a movie. The snow clean-up is kind of an issue, though. I was commenting on the lack of snow removal, as demonstrated by cars completely BURIED in mountains of snow, and thin little walking paths cutting through feet of solid banks. As one of my friends from the program pointed out…well, where would it go??? There would be absolutely nowhere to move all that snow, even if they could.
Everything here seems to astonish me. Even the freaking CVS. There’s one right next door to the gym I joined, and I decided I would head in there to buy some lotion and some eye-makeup remover. Little did I know it would turn out to basically be a grocery store! I ended up leaving with three bags of groceries and a gigantic smile on my face. But seriously, who would have guessed? You can get anything anywhere.
I suppose I am officially a New Yorker now, considering I have had a manicure and pedicure from an Asian nail place. I probably won’t go back there for a pedicure, considering it was not as clean as I would have liked it to be for that sort of thing. But I will definitely go back for a manicure–they cost only thirteen dollars! My nails are a beautiful hot cocoa color. It’s nice to see them painted again…I always feel like I have a hundred other things to do, so I don’t tend to paint them any more. This is so fast and so cheap, I plan on taking full advantage of it while I’m New York!
The second you step foot in this city, it’s basically a requirement to become completely addicted to caffeine. Which I have done. Kelsey (my roommate from K) would be so proud of me! I’m finding it difficult to make it through the day without grabbing a latté from Starbucks or from Le Pan Quotidian, which is just down the street from Poets House. They are so delicious, but a habit I’m hoping doesn’t stick around! I think now that I’m finally getting into the routine and going back to the gym I’ll have a lot more energy. I have to admit, I’ve never slept like this in my whole life. Last night, for instance, I think I fell asleep in about five seconds, didn’t dream whatsoever, and don’t even remember taking my synthroid at 4:30 am. Crazy. I love it…my dreams tend to be unsettlingly realistic. If it’s a good dream I wake up sad, if it’s a bad dream I wake up terrified. It’s nice to have a break from them.
If you are a female in New York City, you WILL be cat called. It’s inevitable. I generally act like I heard nothing and move on.
I am Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee’s biggest fan. The guy at the counter pretty much knows me now. How can you go wrong with decadent bagels, cream cheese that’s almost better than ice cream, and free WiFi? Answer: you can’t.
That isn’t to say that I’m one of those people who will tell you the city is the only enchanted place on Earth. I miss the stars at home, and the wide-open fields, and the packs of deer at dawn and twilight. I know it seems like New York is the place to be as an artist, and I have no doubt that every artist should experience it. It’s a great place to build a community, learn, and get established. But there are things in my palette that poets from New York just don’t have access to, like soy bean fields in November, fresh water lakes where you can’t see the other side, rivers of migrating birds, blue herons, milkweed, corn de-tasseling, dirt roads…I will never, ever, bash my Midwestern roots.