That is the kind of New York moment that makes a visit to this one-of-a-kind town more than just a faded memory. It makes you want to come back to this buzzing centre of the universe again and again. Never a fan of the obvious cliche, I can't help but say the one thing I hate hearing people say, but there is no other way to describe this town - there is an "energy" here that you just don't find anywhere else in the world. (even if it is in America). After 4 nights and 5 days, I have had my fill of this crazy city, but it doesn't mean I won't be back. The elevator operator, the sad story of the struggling Nepalese cabbie, the waitress who works in Greenwich Village but makes the trek everyday from Brooklyn - those are the people and the stories that make this place magic and real and like no other.
Just now, a female airport worker is shouting at her daughter on her cell-phone, in that loud brash New York accent we are so familiar with - she has no idea that half the departure lounge is listening to her conversation and she cares even less. She is a character in a play, a real piece of work, a native New Yorker - I'm guessing she lives in Queens or Brooklyn, and she lives in a tired old walk-up in a neighbourhood where everyone knows everyone else's business and she talks this loud because in her world it is the norm. Pretty sure I'm dead-0n. Her face hasn't seen a facial (ever) her lips only ever get painted for weddings and funerals and her family loves her just the way she is. She should be wearing a badge that says "ordinary New Yorker".
Sooooo unlike the freak show of women we saw at Fred's at Barneys for lunch yesterday. We were told it was worth checking out since, it is "the" spot to check out the "ladies who lunch" on the upper east-side. Not sure how much lunch they actually eat as they are all so thin they would blow away in a nano-second in a town like Chicago, but on Central Park West they are "ordinary" in their own world. They sport the shiny faces of the recently snipped, pulled and stitched at the hairline, collagen filled lips looking like those African women with the plates inserted in their lips, except the plates have been taken out and the remaining plumped and swollen mouth leaps off their face, always arriving one step ahead of the rest of their bodies when they enter a room. It was truly a scary sight and I realized at that moment, although I love visiting New York, I could never ever live here. It would just be too damn much work to try to compete, and truthfully, I wouldn't want to.
I felt sorry for those gals, hanging desperately on to the pathetic remains of their faces and their constant state of starvation. Doesn't sound like living to me. We watched as a mother-daughter team at the table across from us ordered up the signature "cone" of pomme frites, a large cobb salad and a bowl of the "skinny chicken soup" (apparently fat-free) and then proceeded to eat 2 french fries each. The cone easily held 50 fries, but they only ate 2 EACH! As we observed the bus boy clearing the table after they left, I wanted to say - "We'll eat em," but I do actually have some decorum, so I said nothing. They didn't even finish their low cal salad and soup OR their aspartame-laced iced teas. Clearly, they weren't very hungry.
Alternatively, Peg and I completely polished off our grilled wild mushroom salad and Margarita Pizza (we shared one of each) and even considered dessert, but decided to head over to Rockerfeller Center and check out the desserts at Dean & Deluca. I believe a piece of German chocolate cake was devoured, but I don't really remember.
We took a break in between for a much needed nap and then headed across town again to The Spice Market for dinner. It was supposed to be our big blow-out night, but since we had spontaneously turned Tuesday night into our big swirl, we were fairly toned down last night. It was just as well, because my wallet was getting pretty thin and we weren't feeling quite as celebratory after the previous evening's over-indulgence in all things alcoholic. Go figure!
So, a final walk in Central Park this morning, a quick look at John McEnroe filming a morning show segment outside the ABC studios and another Whole Foods breakfast and it was time to pack the bags and head home. We had a great time and once again, I am eternally grateful to my BFF Peg for turning 50 and inviting me to celebrate it with her. Happy Birthday to my precious friend of 30 years.
Aging beautifully ever since.