Monday, 17 September 2012
Leaving New York
I'm writing this in the Amtrak waiting room at Penn Station in New York. waiting for my train to Providence where I'm meeting Haven Roosevelt to stay with him and his wife for a couple of days. I've absolutely loved New York - I was fully prepared to be a blase about it (having been a couple of times before) but I fell in love all over again.
The pace, energy and vibrancy go without saying but I've also been surprised by the feeling of some of the places outside of the main centre - the brownstones in the West Village / Meatpacking District where I stayed the last two days are as attractive as they are portrayed in films but also have a peace about them that is a huge contrast to the bedlam of places like Times Square. I went up to the top of the Rockefeller Centre yesterday morning and yes, it was early on Sunday morning but the thing I was most struck by was how quiet it was. The views were of course stupendous but I also hung around for an hour or so up there reading my book (the absolutely brilliant 'This Isn't the Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You' by Nottingham (and Lincolnshire) author Jon McGregor) and things felt very peaceful despite being right in the centre of a huge city.
Amongst other things I popped over to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market which looked like it was going to be a disappointment until I got to the very last stall and found a collection of lead movable type of the sort that I've been looking for for ages. There were several complete alphabets available and were it not for the fact that I'd have to had carried them around for the next two months I would have bought them all. Instead I restricted myself to just a handful of letters - a bargain at $1 a piece.
Also went to the 9/11 Memorial over at the site of the World Trade Centre attacks. Wasn't quite sure how to feel about this and looked like most the people there were similarly conflicted - it wasn't clear if people felt they should be reverential or celebratory - there was a strange mix of silent contemplation and people posing for grinning tourist snaps. Either way the memorial itself was very impressive - the huge metal blocks with the names of every victim carved into them line two huge pools of water on the exact location of the Twin Towers.
I'm sad to be leaving NY but looking forward to exploring some of New England and meeting with the Boots USA team later this week in Norwalk, CT.