After leaving SC, I went back to New York City. It is, within this city,that changed me forever. The city was in the middle of a springtime – winter return. It was grey & with wet cold snow.
I went there to attend college, and in truth, the real lessons came from outside the classroom. It is this kind of education that still resides within my soul – the people I meet during my NYC days are dear to me. Even if they corrected my actions – it was OK, because it was learning experience, and these skills are what I was going to need for the rest of my life . NYC is and will be – the best learning environment for any business or art student, and any kind of self expression …
I decided to stay in China town, for a few reasons, the first – its my favorite kind of food, I love the way vegetables are cooked, then put over rice, a little soy sauce – and I am in heaven.
As a side note, I used to have, “ wining & dining” , our clients, when they visited Wall Street. I enjoyed the rich foods, that we ate during those meetings, but did not like the calories they carried. Chinatown is a great starting point to many things; Its easy to walk to downtown or Little Italy, and the subway was half a block away, and its also on a bus line, and the laundry matt is one block away.
There are tons of restaurants – but my favorite (beside my Chinese food) was this Chinese- MacDonald’s – I just found it so odd- that I liked it.
Most visitors like the upper east side, “uptown”, for all the restaurants and cafes.
I found some things still the same – kids still not wearing their pants correctly ..
I am a downtown girl, working for years on Wall Street, and attending Trinity church – this was my old stomping ground. And, knowing, I would have to make that dreaded journey to the World Trade Towers site, were I lost many co workers. I was not looking forward to this journey, but knew, I had to. I was there, to see the horrible holes in the ground – the famous Cross… I put this journey, toward the end of my stay, it was going to be an emotional day for me, and, I had to do alone.
When you say NYC to people, many will think of shopping !! And that is where, I started. My first day – I went to the Mighty Macy’s store. It was late March, so sales were everywhere. Living in Paris, I have come to understand the need for good water proof boots, they must be flexible- comfortable- arch supporting- stylish with a heel –easy to walk in, warm – and make me look 25 pounds thinner !! (yes, no wonder why I am still searching) .
What was new to me, was how much this store changed. It use to be a store of ‘classy kinds of booths’. Shining in glass and chrome – in a straight line .. Clinique, Estee Lauder, Chanel, Mac, Ernio Lazio. All shinny with their beautiful ladies with perfect make up, promising to remove all your worries, with a special eye cream, for only 75.00.
The store air carried the mixed scent of 50 perfumes, that hung in the air from the Fragrances Bar. How I enjoyed the scent as I walked in- deeper & deeper, to the counter of endless scents for every mood and age. I can still see the bottle gleaming in gold and silver, with the impressive names ; Chanel 5 – the timeless classic, Yves St Laurent’s ‘ Rive Gauche’ the perfume inside a stylish can – for the lady on the move. Givenchy, Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne .. all selling a different version of womanhood..
Now, it was replaced with loud clubbing music- the bass turned up so high, you can feel it pounding in your bones. The colors were now, bold and annoying to me, all created to grab your attention. Or to divert your attention away from the low quality- high price merchandise? There was a central video that played a different music, to compete with the overhead speaker- clubbing music,. The video singer, barley dressed in a bad remake of a Cher outfit – slid around on the floor, was she trying to be sexy ? or too drugged up to stand ? I did not care either way, and kept walking.
I went upstairs to view the boots – looking for that perfect pair. Only to find, the area in complete- typical disorder. And more shocking, was the foot size !! I forgot how much bigger the American woman’s foot was – the sizes that had a selections were 8 – 12. where did my size go ?? How and why did the foot get bigger in America, and not in Europe? What woman wants a bigger foot?, unless you go sailing – I do not see any advantage of it. I am not a scientist, but I have a theory, that the foot growing in size, is related to the increase of chemicals that are put in the American diet. How else to explain that my grandmother & auntie, had small feet – size 4.5 & 5.5 , and I am 6.5. what else changed to increase the foot size ?? So I was disappointed, and left the boot section, to the excited tourists, who were grabbing and hunting for their pair.
I found out, that my favorite store called Conway was closed. So I went across the street to Payless- still looking for wet boots. And to my surprise.. there were several pairs that I liked !!
The odd thing – I walked over to the children’s section, with out knowing. I thought there seemed to be an over abundance of pink & purple shoes. With the rain hitting the 34th street hard, I felt no need to hurry out of the store. Lucky for me, there was a ‘Chatty Cathy employee‘ near me, so I asked her, if she felt the same way about women’s feet sizes. Cathy confirmed this fact, and started to site customers, who are 8 years old, and needing a size 9 shoe! Cathy explained to me, that my foot, is now going ‘out of style’, and soon, they will only carry 6.5 as a girls shoe. So I asked her, about my future hunt for my slimming boots, desperate to get some comfort from Cathy! She gave me simple advice “You better find them soon, otherwise, I hope you like pink shoes”.
Lucky for me the Parisian women still have small feet, and the French women don’t wear pink shoes ! SAFE with plan B!!
I did find some boots there, at a very good price – and purchased them. They are not the perfect boots, but are wearable in Paris. I was able to purchase a pair of cowboy boots, in a black & brown, which look very nice for being manmade material. I have come to appreciate this, more & more, simply because leather does not do well in wet climates. Another pair, was a grey/silver lace up boot, no heel, but a good walking boot. I don’t think, having lots of shoes and boots are unique to women. I tried to count once, and stopped when I got to 100. I also counted sneakers, and slippers, and sandals, and mules..
So I included a lot … I think a 100 is normal..
Another day, I decided to visit the MET. The weather was cold and unfriendly to walk in. Outside the Met,the ice air, once inhaled, felt like ice knifes, which chilled you to the bone. The wind, coming down from Canada, was mean and sharp. The grey sky forewarned of the coming weather, it was going to get colder and darker. Mr. Winter was not leaving NYC, quietly. I was determined (as usual) to follow my itinerary; and in this kind of weather – its indoor stuff
They were like old friends- waiting in the same place, the last time I saw them. I went downstairs to the Roman area, where the greatest civilization left us some items to encase in glass & view with wonder. Ironic how it was the Romans who decided that my current city (Paris), would be a good business market place, and built many building and aqueducts, that are still viewable.
And how can I live in a medieval area, and not pay respects to the Arms & Armor section in the MET? I like, how, the men are mounted on horses, both in full armor, ready for battle. Hanging above, are actual designs from the Knights of the Round Table. King Arthur & Lancelot flags are hanging here. Walking along, you come to, amazing tapestries, made by women, who had lots of patience & a critical eye, to catch a wrong stitch. I now appreciate this form of art, knowing, it was mainly a woman’s art. I hope to buy in the future, a simple tapestry for myself –respecting the artistic women who came before me- and their dedication to this art form.
Another cold day, another indoor activity, so I went to the Times Square ticket seller, I wanted to see a show. For college, I took a class, of ‘Performing arts appreciation ‘( yes – I did) and really did not care too much for it. We were dragged to Off Broadway & Off- Off Broadway, paper after paper had to be written, not fun.
Standing in line for my ticket– the attendants asked me “what play I wanted to see? “ My reply was – “a musical” ( I was tempted by American in Paris- but it was not playing during the day). How I miss Auntie, for she was the lady who introduced me to musicals, and how they are supposed to lift your spirit with the singing. Standing in line, a small smile crept onto my lips- I whispered to her in Heaven (you see Auntie, I was paying attention) The play was decided, the matinee of – Phantom of the Opera.. the ticket price was discounted to 85.00 ( yes- welcome to Broadway) .The ticket man, found me amusing to talk to – so he got me a seat in the 8th row – front. WOW!
Was this play worth the money? YES ! It was a wonderful play, taking place in Paris (yes, that was funny to me) The play had wonderful music, and the physical demands of the play were impressive. Actors hanging over the audience from wires, fire that shoots out of the floor, which was so hot – I felt my face get flushed from the heat. Pieces of the set, floated and moved to create a very good representation of the Paris Opera House.
My only difficulty – was a man, who came with his family –and they had the biggest heads I ever saw !! I knew they were a family, because of the huge balloon heads they all had, I never saw anything like it before. I had 2 thoughts come io my mind when they sat in front of me. First – thank God, I did not have to push out that melon head in child birth !! Second – I better move in front of the melon family, or I will only see half the play. Lucky for me- the bad weather kept most people away from Broadway, so I took the seat in front of Mr Mellon. I snuck into Row 5 at intermission, to see the rest of the play.
I felt very lucky to visit some old college friends for a day –and we shared memories of our pasts. We spoke about ZAP, who, was Mr Capitalist, and how, I thought, he would be millionaire. Premie, Shantu, Reggie, Rachel, Roseanne, Frank & James., what was the news on them? I look back at those college days, with nostalgic eyes now, knowing that our paths were joined in college, but once those days passed, we would follow different roads, all leading to the great unknown.