New York

Jeannie and I just got back from three days as New York tourists. We are exhausted and exhilarated from the trip. From John’s Pizzeria near Times Square, to Caffe Reggio in Greenwich Village, to the “street meat” from the ubiquitous carts, we ate ourselves silly. We saw sights from tour buses and on foot. We saw clubs in the Village where Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix saw their careers take off, and we saw the apartment building where John Lennon’s life came to an end. We saw the Broadway show, “In The Heights”, which was a Latin music delight, followed by Irish music at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle, Times Square.

Everywhere we went was the cacophony of just about every language on earth along with a couple that might well have been extra terrestrial. It’s a strange and wonderful music.

On the New Jersey Transit #190 bus back to our hotel, we were pelted by an Old Testament style hail storm. It sounded like the bus was being struck by a million rocks. Minutes away from our hotel, Monday Night Football was delayed by 45 minutes due to the storm.

I was struck by the police presence in the city. Everywhere in Manhattan, there were pairs of NYPD officers keeping a watchful eye, while at the same time acting as walking information centers for tourists like us, looking for an address, or the nearest subway entrance. They all showed remarkable patience in what has to be a job that’s as stressful as you could have.

I confess to having had a long term antipathy toward New Yorkers, mostly the Yankees and denizens of their stadium. It’s easy to hate the teams that always beat your team, (along with their gloating fans.) The Yankees had just swept the Twins (again) so there were no home play-off games while we were there, sparing me from having to endure Yankee Mania up close. Having said that, I must cleanse my soul with another confession: The people I encountered were warmer than their reputation. Most of them seemed to go out of their way to show their city in a good light. They are generally not as laid back as us West Coasters, and seem to have a higher baseline stress level than most Americans. They may not suffer fools gladly, and boy do the drivers love their horns. Obviously, I didn’t encounter every New Yorker. There are criminals, and those who just aren’t nice people. I didn’t meet any of them. Those I met truly love their city. I didn’t buy an I heart NY shirt, but I came away with a new found respect for the City and it’s people. Still don’t like the Yankees though.

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