Friday, November 10, 2006

new york: in the city of blinding lights

let's face it. i'm partial. this town has a heartbeat that reverberates throughout the night in the honks of taxis, which i'm finding very hard to summon, as if i have lost the gift. today we set out from staten island where i was staying, close to my colleague charlie, since i couldn't stay with he and his girlfriend jayne last night because of several cats.

we ordered breakfast bagels from a dive deli on the side of the road giving our money to employees whose accents were as thick as turkish coffee. we drove to the javits, which feels like a home away from home, and set up our "ikea booth." the setup went by in a jovial manner between charlie and i, which is always good. the booth looks pretty smashing if i do say so myself. for lunch, we supped on hotdogs and potato knishes, along with all the other union laborers for $3.25. in new york you can't beat a deal like that.

after we finished setting up the booth, i worked for a few hours on the computer. i set out later to see the broadway show "company," written by stephen sondheim- about five urban married couples and a bachelor who's trying to decide if marriage is the ticket for him. trying to get to the barrymore theater was a bit of a challenge. i couldn't flag down a cab, the usual rules did not apply- instead of lights on meaning free cab, it could mean anything. i was now running 15 minutes late to the theater and i was desperate. a guy rolled by on his bicycle rickshaw and he asked if i wanted a lift. we negotiated a price and i got on laughing, recalling the last time i had been in a rickshaw had been in india, now five years ago, with our trusty cyclist raju at the helm.

oscar, the cyclist, meandered into heavy new york traffic with such ease and finesse, though i still prayed we would not get hit. he's in high school and wants to go attend college at flushing so he can get his mechanical engineering degree in aviation. what a sweet kid... who told me i should stick around longer in the city, that i had a confidence about me that worked here. i told him it's because i'm latina, knowing he was from one of the islands himself (dominican republic). he speaks fluent spanish at his house with his parents.

as he sped down e. 49th, i kept giggling out loud, not believing i was in a rickshaw or how beautiful the city looked this evening, in the perfectly temperatured night air. after a slice of ny style pizza with some veggies on the side, i came back to the hotel to put in a few more hours of work, so i might be able to take a bit of time off tomorrow afternoon and catch the "americans in paris" exhibit at the met. museum. my bed awaits.


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