Tuesday, February 20, 2007

New York, New York ...

The Apple Store
New York.

Wow. Almost too iconic to take in; almost too familiar to believe. Three days spent feeling I’m in a movie, but aware because of the acute cold that this is for real. I see filming happening – indeed, we are moved on at the Rockefeller Centre because we mustn’t get in the way, and have to slither round to another entrance in the snow which has resisted the clean-up – an impressive operation which seems to continue long into the night, the huge piles of snow in the gutter ever harder to negotiate when we cross a road.

We stay in the Waldorf Astoria. The doorman is wearing a long black overcoat, and a fur hat over a fleece balaclava. The bellhop who brings our cases to the room is large and earnest and breaks a lightbulb while making way for our stuff. I ask if it will be possible to make the room any cooler, and he suggests “cracking a window”. We wonder, wildly, if this is his preferred method of ventilation, but discover he merely means to open it. (We do, later, and then have the devil’s own job closing it as an Arctic wind tosses the net curtains around us. In the morning, we see the wee notice begging us not to attempt this feat without help.)
Waldorf lobby 2
The hotel lobby is opulent, scented by a huge bowl of lilies, and full of business people networking, barking into cellphones or looking hopefully for someone. I throw a waiter into a frenzy by demanding soya milk with my breakfast, but it arrives, and is there for the asking for the rest of our stay. I tell the waiter he’s a star and he smiles sweetly every time we meet. It is so warm that I have to strip the moment we come in the door – and the lifts are so rapid that my ears are in a constant state of trepidation.

I decide I love New York. I take endless (and slightly squint) photos of skyscrapers, and travel the Staten Island ferry before the promised snow arrives. The Statue of Liberty seems strangely small, but arresting nonetheless. Frozen from the ride, we brave the subway once more and emerge unscathed in the wonderful Grand Central Station, where we eat among thousands, sitting up at a bar. I take photos of steam rising from the streets – another iconic phenomenon. We march half the length of Central Park to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art – some well-kent paintings and a display of old musical instruments, among which an Erard grand which features in the book I’m reading (The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason).

On our way home we are seduced by the gleaming cube of the Apple Centre on Fifth Avenue, and after Mr B has attacked the door with his head (they shouldn’t clean them so assiduously) I buy a mini GDrive to back up my life. Much cheapness for travelling Brits these days. We eat out that night in a jolly Italian place under the Met Life building, and emerge to the first flakes of snow. We reflect that upstate New York has already vanished under several feet of the stuff, and wonder if we shall ever be able to leave.

14 comments:

  1. Loving your work! I do hope I am not the only person laughing out loud at this!

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  2. Anonymous7:38 PM

    Dixie Wetsworth describing her pool boy - "He's like a New York hotel: nothing much upstairs, but the lobby's fantastic."

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  3. Good one, anon! And I would like to think I raised another chuckle or two somewhere.....

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  4. If you're not in a serious mood, go see The Drowsy Chaperone. Have a nice stay!

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  5. The problem with writing in the Dramatic Present is that it misleads people - we actually came home on Friday!

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  6. The rhetorical figure hysteron proteron comes to mind. Well, it would, wouldn't it? Welcome, Blethers Redux! (and Mr B also too as well besides)

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  7. PS - In esprit de l'escalier mode, I should have said (at great personal risk next time I'm in Dunoon) women were deceivers ever. Whaur's yer real time noo? It's worse than digital radio, this time-lag. But.

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  8. I feel there is a difference in my use of tense from what Virgil did - eg. Moriamur, et in media arma ruamus - but who am I to argue with the captain of the Enterprise?

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  9. Puzzled of Govan writes: There is a difference between mood and tense. Did my Cicero notes mean nothing? (Virgil was a poet and therefore syntactically a maverick - he can get away with things Professor Fordyce would never have tolerated.)As for the Star Trek reference, is my follically challenged state the point of the analogy? Or my omniscience? Lux in tenebris, please. Make it so! BTW, now can you understand why I spent so many holidays wandering about the US of A?

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  10. Puzzled of Govan writes: There is a difference between mood and tense. Did my Cicero notes mean nothing? (Virgil was a poet and therefore syntactically a maverick - he can get away with things Professor Fordyce would never have tolerated.) As for the Star Trek reference, is my follically challenged state the point of the analogy? Or my omniscience? Lux in tenebris, please. Make it so! BTW, now can you understand why I spent so many holidays wandering about the US of A? (PS - Spot the spacing difference in version 2. I'm a neophyte at this game, you know.)

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  11. Kimberly10:08 PM

    Carrying on the linguistic theme: just how did the waiter cope with being called a star? Did you get that same bewildered look as when you asked for the lift, or did he think you were referring to his unrecognized acting potential?

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  12. Clearly the omniscience - and you know fine well that I always skated on very thin ice on the higher slopes of Latin syntax!(Is that quite an appropriate metaphor in the circs?)

    And yes, I do see - and think you need a visit to Dunoon to share enthusiams. Have you checked out my photos?

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  13. Kimberly - the waiter reacted as do all men in such circs - he smiled. Beatifically. It's all in the way you say it ....

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  14. Confession time! As St M's reverts to the full-scale breast-beating language of the SPB for lenten Evensong confession & absolution (give or take the odd possible excision of "brethren" & "mankind") I must own to having possessed a PC these 11 years past (faute de Mac at the time capable of taking a modem, and faute de funds thereafter). In its now elderly arthritic state (technology mirroring nature much as a dog eventually resembles its owner - or companion human, if you prefer), not all the wonders of modern blogging technology are supported. Some of your pix are visible - and evocative they are - but the time taken to view them all is needed for the more mundane tasks of breathing, eating and sleeping. I am resolved to rejoin the sane people and find the funds for a Mac. There! I've said it in public. Cor contritum quasi cinis, an' a' that. Will find time to venture doon the watter, enthusiasm at the ready.
    Pardon the parentheses. Early exposure to the late Bernard Levin left its mark.
    Oh - and "Historic Present" was the description of choice when I was a lad. "Dramatic" is probably something thought up in over-excitable English departments.

    You're a star, too (sook, sook).

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