Saturday, November 21, 2009

The New York Experience

Still reeling from Oprah announcing the end of her show (ok, it's not for another two years and the announcement was actually that she was going to be announcing it the next day which I would have taken to be the same as announcing it but what do I know?), it turns out my wife didn't get out of the hospital after all on Friday; in fact, she didn't even get out of the recovery room until late afternoon. (No room at the inn, that sort of thing. I suppose one of the downsides of a hospital that focuses on joint surgery is that people don't die there and free up rooms as frequently.) It's looking like she'll be in through the weekend, with some time at a rehab facility after that. (That last part remains to be confirmed.) My heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful expressions of support.

It's an interesting trip to the hospital, which is located on 70th Street, about as far to the east in Manhattan as you can go. (Let's put it this way; take two steps in the wrong direction and you're in the East River, dodging tugboats, barges, and the occasional Circle Line tour boat.) Since the train from NJ puts me at 33rd Street at about the mid-point of Manhattan's east-to-west span, it's about a two and a half mile travel distance from there to the hospital. For the trip there and back, I decided to walk rather than take the subway; something about walking has always made it possible for me to think, relax, create and energize in ways that just don't happen at any other time. It's surely better than other ways I've tried. Experience has shown me there are no answers at the bottom of a box of oreos.

Every city has its character, of course, and its characters, but even when you've commuted to New York City nearly every day for over thirty years, there's still so much to see on a walk like that. The autograph shop on West 57th with the most amazingly cool things in the window. The cross-dressing guy in a see-through outfit (or maybe it was just a zombie trying to meet someone special) walking along Third Avenue. In the mid-forties, the theater district, I noticed a restaurant that advertises it's been providing the finest Cuban cuisine since 1963, and thought, yeah, I'll bet in 1963 Cuban cuisine was just a great business to be in.

At 34th Street, Herald Square, Macy's is in full swing in its preparation for Christmas and the Thanksgiving Day Parade/world's largest infomercial. Every year, they put up fantastically involved window displays along the Broadway side. Tourists flock to see them, and even jaded New Yorkers have been known to stop for a moment and look. (Not for too long, of course. Got somewhere to be, you know, though we're not always quite sure where that is and have to think of it along the way.)

Anyway, for folks not expecting to be in New York City this holiday season, a brief glimpse of what you'll see as you pass the windows. (This year's theme is Letters to Santa, with the windows showing the path letters take as they are handled in the North Pole.) These are strictly camera-phone videos, about five seconds each, and not broadcast quality. But I thought they had a New York flavor and would be kind of fun to post anyway. As for me, well, I'd better get back to my research; a man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's an oreo for?


oldhousegal said...

I'm glad things are going well with your wife. Rehab may be just the thing for her too.

I enjoyed the Macy's window pictures. I had the occasion to be in New York for work right before Christmas a few years ago and checked out the Macy's windows. I had never seen them in person before and I was very impressed. They represent something about New York that has always fascinated me -- how such a jaded, cynical place can be simultaneously a place of such awe and wonder.

Martha (Menagerie) said...

Long time no see - thanks for stopping by!
So sorry to hear about your wife's recent surgery and hospital stay. I hope she is home now, and hope you were able to have an enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Gitana said...

When I was a single mom, my daughter and I enjoyed a holiday walking tour in Manhattan every year. After our customary trip to see Macy's Santa, we would walk down Fifth Avenue looking at all the mechanical displays in the department store windows. That was in the days when many of the stores actually had mechanical displays. Not too many of them these days, I'm afraid. Betcha didn't know that one of my million and one jobs was as a costumer for those display animations. I use to dress up those mechanical dolls and animals for display windows across the country. Even though I know the blood and guts behind those displays, I still find them magical.

DB said...

Thanks for the snatches of New York City, my home town.