I wish I could get to New York more often. Every six months, say, often enough to have a few favorite places to go to, ideas about hotels. Alas, I am not that person. Enough time passes between visits that the place remakes itself two or three times over.
The last time I visited with Alan and Kate, we stayed on what I called the far west side, i.e., Jersey City. Back then, there were a few hotels, populated mainly by south Asian men who shlepped off to work in the financial district in the morning, in polo shirts and lanyards, on the PATH train. Now those hotels are surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings and a few restaurants, and the area is now called Wall Street West.
We actually stayed in the same hotel — a suite thing, just a couple blocks from the PATH. Manhattan is even more a gated community for tourists and the super-wealthy than ever, with most of the tourists gathered around the World Trade Center site. Seriously. On Saturday, I think English speakers were in the minority, with guided tours going on in about a million other languages. But we were bound for Brooklyn, and ended up in DUMBO, which I’m told stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge,
with the O added so it’s not a neighborhood called simply DUMB. Correction: Directly Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Thanks, commenters.
Walked around. Ate meatballs. Went up to Prospect Park. Came back over to Manhattan and strolled the east Village. Talked and walked and talked and walked, until I had a giant blister on one toe, at which point it was back under the river via PATH and a bottle of wine in the suite.
Repeat on Sunday. I bought Kate a CBGB T-shirt, which her government teacher told her was worth extra-credit points. And then home, where after about 48 hours, my feet have finally stopped hurting. Mostly.
But I’m grateful for every chance I get to see the place, although I have to say: Shopping in New York isn’t the thrill it once was. What’s there is outrageously expensive, and what isn’t you can find on the internet. Maybe if I had a few more days to wander. But then I’d need new shoes. Or maybe a wheelchair.
One photo from Dumbo (I’m done with the capitalization):
Yes, what a crazy idea! Come into the tent and type a letter! Wacky.
For a chance of pace, how about this? Two idiots scuffle with the police. In the process, a paddleboat — yes, a paddleboat — is used in an escape attempt and capsized. It is difficult to capsize a paddleboat. In fact, i”d think it was nearly impossible, in anything other than extraordinary circumstances. And yet they managed.