New York, New York
I love it here. Even the things I hate I love. The place does have its own idiosyncrasies, though.
• Who are the cab drivers (who no longer help with luggage or know most directions) talking to constantly in foreign languages on their phones, without letup? Their stockbrokers?
• When you make a common task overly complex and elaborate, you don’t create elegance, you create pomposity. So it takes ten minutes to get coffee at the wonderful al fresco restaurant attached to the hotel, because it “Belgium-pressed,” or “Luxemburg-squeezed,” or something. (The waitress had asked, astonished, “You just want PLAIN coffee?”) The food, however, was terrific.
• Twice, the staff at the hotel was engaged in conversation as I approached and treated my appearance with some displeasure, as though an unwelcome solicitor had arrived. When I told the concierge to stop looking at me so suspiciously, she looked at me suspiciously.
• I’m meeting Omar for a cigar at 4 at the Grand Havana Room. My wife and daughter suggested, “As long as you’re going all the way uptown this afternoon, why not have your hair cut then instead of tomorrow morning.?” I didn’t realize I was traveling to another country, but the John Barret Salon was happy to accommodate me, and didn’t regard my phone call as an interruption in their day. (I have four degrees, which are apparently two shy of what’s required to understand the computer in my daughter’s new BMW. But we did manage to take the granddaughters over to see my mother in the nursing home in Jersey quite successfully!)
• They’ve turned an old elevated train track into a great pedestrian park and walkway. Below our window is a huge dog run. Every restaurant is filled, indoors and outdoors, in the evening. The one in this hotel, The Standard, serves until 4 am. The city that never sleeps. (What recession?)
• First class on the Acela was packed coming down here on a 3:50 train, but we arrived smack on time, with excellent service en route.
• The bellman, the front desk clerk, and the engineer who visited our room could not figure out what was wrong with the lights over our bed. They promised to repair the unit today, until, by accident, I found the master switch by the door. Three of the four walls are glass, floor to ceiling, so unless we draw the shears, the tub, sink, shower, and toilet (all in separate places) are exposed to lower New York!
How can you not love this town?
© Alan Weiss 2009. All rights reserved.