Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New York Moment 21

No theme to this one, just a dumping ground from my memories of my last two days, roaming the city on my own as the boys have been stuck at home napping and watching Japanese animation to get over their fevers and snotty noses.

On the train going uptown, a frantically cheery woman stepped on, with the voice of a kindergarten teacher with a bullhorn and began thanking us for taking her pamphlet about veganism. She preached to the captive audience about the ills of eating meat, including heart disease and impotence. He voice was getting shriller and shriller. A huge African American man in a puffy black coat made eye contact with me, rolled his eyes, and smiled when she said, "impotence." I rolled my eyes too, and we both shook our heads. By the time she told us that our bodies become "graveyards for animals" when we eat meat, she was yelling. She was scary. Then she left the train.

Nearly every New York block must have at least one coffee/deli place. I stopped in one this morning on my way to the subway. I asked for a sesame bagel with a 'shmear' and a small coffee. The lady behind the counter coudn't believe I only wanted a small. She picked up her large cup, took a sip, and toasted me. I filled my cup with half Ethiopian, half 'tiramisu' flavored. It was mediocre coffee but what a great feeling to warm my hands on the train with my cup and eat half my bagel. The other half kept me going through the afternoon when I ate it while walking down the stairs of the Met, heading to my crosstown bus, the one that cuts straight through Central Park.

I am going to miss these bagels. The smell of the fresh ones straight out of the oven, the garlic and onion, the seeds, and steam and toasters.

There was a white six-year-old boy with what looked like his nanny, a beautiful and statuesque woman who I think was African (what I could tell from her accent). She had a long-suffering way about her, that this was her charge, and she was trying her best to be patient with his nonstop questions and comments like, "Have you ever been to Harlem? I bet you've been to Harlem. What? No? You haven't been to Harlem? Why haven't you been to Harlem?" He was excited to look out the window and comment on where we were and where we were going. Upon reaching the East Side, he said, "Oh, it's the Upper East Side! I love the Upper East Side! I like it here best. I like the busy-ness. I like to be busy. I like the Upper East Side. Can you move over? You're crowding me. I want to look out. Oh, I like the Upper East Side."

Walking through the Village, I looked down to the lower level window of a Doggie Daycare business. The place was packed. Probably ten dogs were laying on cots in the middle of the room. A bulldog was, uh, inappropriately invading the personal space of a small black dog, from behind. I couldn't help snickering like a 12-year-old boy but also felt embarrassed. Finally, one of the workers yelled so loudly that I could hear it from the street, "Hey! You! Cut it out!" as he shooed the randy bulldog away.

I was disppointed that my tourguide at the Tenement Museum didn't know where Al Smith was from. Shouldn't she know that? I'm both fascinated and spooked by the old tenement housing, getting the same feeling there as I did in certain rooms at Ellis Island. New York City must have a lot of ghosts in it.

On our way to dinner, we passed Schimmel's Knishery, on Houston in the Lower East Side. If you have the chance, go. It's been around for a long time. We got a potato knish, straight out of the oven. It was one of the best things I've ever eaten. Abe forgot his hat there. We'd made it six long blocks west when we realized it was missing. I ran the whole way back to retrieve the hat (I'm not a runner, not at all). Carbo-loading via potato knish is a miraculous thing.


Staci said...

Yay - you went to the Tenement Museum!

mama becca said...

mmmmmm. bagels.
i can't wait to pull up your blog next time i'm in NYC and try some of the things you've tried. what an awesome time you're having...

Casa Bicicleta said...

Hey, if you can, don't forget to go to Katz's deli on the lower East side. You have to have a pastrami on rye. You have to.
Love these stories.

Anonymous said...

Oh what fun to sit down with a cup of tea and read this blog.
Your Portland neighbors miss seeing the three of you. Give the boys my love and I hope they are feeling better.
Love, Linda

kn said...

I second Katz's
and an egg cream - just because

when we had a dog he spent a day at the doggie day care i think you might be talking about!

the dog story cracked me up!


we might be coming in the city on Sunday. let me know if you want to share a meal - i know you're busy so don't think twice if it's not possible.

love love love the new york stories!!

betsy said...

Oh, well, if it's bagels you want, you MUST go to H & H Bagels. Best in the city.