Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Observations on New York

So, after an official 4 weeks in New York I have a few, very minor, observations. And here they are, list style:

1. More people in NY have darker coloring than in the Midwest, the land of blue-eyed, blonde Scandinavians. Today I was meeting a female parent from Lee's class at a restaurant to discuss a possible design project. Although I had met her once, I had also met 24 other sets of parents the same night, so was not confident that I recalled what she looked like. I asked Lee, "What does she look like?" He replied, "She is dark, attractive, and kind of tall."

Ok. Good. I got it. So I get to the restaurant at 10 in the morning on Madison and 84th and what do you know? There are about 20 women who are dark, attractive and tall. This was a lesson in chauvinism. We don't know what we don't know because we are so oriented to our own little world. In the end, I found her because she was dark, attractive, and tall, AND looking like she was meeting someone she didn't know very well.

2. It is weird to listen to Waylon Jennings singing "Amanda" in our cute little New York pied-a-terre. It is weird to listen to country music in Manhattan, period. Just weird. But I'm going to keep doing it because I like my old country music.

3. Depending on the time of your life, New Yorkers will live in different parts of the city. (I did have a native New Yorker confirm this today!) When you are younger, you like being gritty so you live near the Bowery or in Hell's Kitchen. When you get a little money, you move to one of the Villages or Chelsea or Tribeca. When you have children or need it quiet, you move to one of the Uppers - Upper East or Upper West. I think Upper East is maybe the quietest. I need quiet.

4. New York grocery stores have put a lot of thought into their bags - the size and the handles - because New Yorkers have to carry everything. Normal cheap plastic bags are rare - because the handle squishes together and gets really skinny if you have a heavy bag and hurts your hand. The best bags have a nice, flat wide handle. It is a pleasure to carry the bags from Citerella and Butterfield Market. Most shops have nice, heavy duty bags that would NEVER break. There would be a riot in New York if things were always dropping out of the bottom of bags. And the added benefit is that we can use them for recycling.

5. New Yorkers would no more go out without an umbrella than go out without shoes on. I am clearly not yet a New Yorker.

6. Address is everything. New Yorkers know the city and say things like, "That's a very good address."

7. You can wear almost anything you want in New York - it is a good place to experiment with style because you can be fairly certain that no one will notice you. Or , if they do, they will either think you look chic or you are just bi-polar on one of your binges.

8. New York has a tangible energy. Even when you lay in bed at night, quiet, trying to fall asleep.
Which is why I am up very late watching Rachel Maddow and Hardball and reading my latest, fabulous book, Netherland. (Hint: go get it!)

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