Thursday, July 7, 2011


Still more of what has become a random series of recollections about a recent trip to New York City, Boston, MA and the wilds of the Maine’s “Down East” coast.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE RAIN in Central Park conjured up the final scene of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Moments earlier, we’d walked past Tiffany’s – that Tiffany’s – and I had been strongly advised not to go in and order an omelet. Never the less, circumstance called that while entering the Park from 5th Avenue, the heavy, late-afternoon New York City skies opened up and poured.

It is interesting what rain does to an environment. Not only will it settle the dust and freshen the air, but it will pacify the noise. The cacophony of taxi horns – the city’s own unique background score – softened in the gently falling rain. The song of the eastern mockingbird quieted, only moments prior delighting from the thick canopy overhead. The voices of passers-by – with the city’s cornucopia of languages – stilled. All that could be discerned – and this only barely – was the product of this cold front falling against and being absorbed by the broad leaves of the park’s only-one-of-its-type-in-the-world collection of trees. That and the splash of the bicyclist’s tires as they split the puddles formed in the low spots impounded by asphalt.

We’d been talking, but soon, our voices stilled as well.

NEW YORK CITY, if one is equipped with a subway pass and a good pair of Keens or Clarks or Mephistos, is a great walking city.

From our headquarters on the 18th floor of the Beacon Hotel on Broadway,

...we traipsed past the Empire State Building, and into Times Square, SoHo, the Village, and...

Rockefeller Center.

Playing out-of-towner role to the hilt, we viewed of the Statue from a great distance following that with quiet moments at the Vietnam Veterans memorial - courtesy, we understand, Donald Trump.

The city turned out to be like a big small town with folks willing to look out for one another as if everybody lived only down the street. A recommendation for good Italian food is only one question away.

Accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Lake
Directions for the subway line to Flatbush were for the asking – although nobody seemed to know the location of the nearest Moto Guzzi dealer. Cabbies actually yielded to jaywalkers. In-line skaters did not. Firemen sitting in front of the station house accepted a handshake with grace. Local precinct police served as ombudsmen for those of us clearly foreign to the city.

Even though I wore a ball cap emblazoned with the interlocking “NY” of the old National League Giants, it was clear I wasn’t from around these parts. Perhaps if I’d removed the price tag…

Folks seemed happy to see our little party, interested in where we were from and what we had planned for our vacation. It wasn’t long – perhaps only hours – until I realized my picture of New York was horribly skewed by a jealous Hollywood’s representation of it. New York knows that tourism is the blood that pumps through the heart of the city. And they know how to make folks feel like family.

WHEREVER WE HIKED – Wall Street, the World Trade Center site, the East River –

...we always seemed to circle home through Central Park: past the Wednesday fun run,

...the Friday free jazz, the everyday lovers stealing kisses semi-hidden down some dirt path.

The skies cleared as we exited the Park on this, our first visit. We walked past the Dakota where the cast busts guarding the front entrance seemed still to be crying after all these years.

Heading two blocks west to Broadway and our hotel, I found that the little town blues - the ones I didn’t know I had - had melted away.

Maybe it was walking though canyons of soaring buildings...

...or the collection of people each as unique as I...

...or maybe just the intense vibrancy of Manhattan – with its capital-of-the-world cosmopolitan-ness.

Perhaps, however, like the cleansing of Holly Golightly’s put-on face in “Breakfast,” it was simply the New York City rain.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press


  1. Former boss, always a buddy and current NYC resident Dan responds: Would've been nice to catch up. Plus share your visit. An amazing place!! You did a VERY nice job of reporting in your blog. It's really a small world here - running into people we know all the time. And as you say - folks are friendly, they appreciate tourists more than most of the world knows. We live north of Central Park - a short bike ride or a bit of a walk. I'm so glad you had a good time, sorry we couldn't have walked around the park a bit or had coffee somewhere!

  2. I loved NY when I took the girls. Would like to go back and explore the little neighborhoods and boroughs. Also, upstate NY is supposed to be really nice.