Have you ever been in a moment or a situation where you think to yourself, “I wish I could take a photograph of this and remember everything about that exact moment forever?” I rarely have my laptop handy in one of those moments, so usually I take a mental picture. Today, right now, I have my laptop, so I’m going to write about it until I feel like I’ve captured that moment, that feeling.
It’s 10:45 pm in New York City and I’m in a hotel bar with a glass of wine and my laptop. It’s a very cool art deco, Great Gatsby era type of hotel. I’m sitting at a table near the window so I can watch the street. The sound of sirens is fading as the ambulance that just passed gets further away. Outside the window a woman just walked by with a dog in a dress. The Westminster Dog Show starts Monday and many of the contestants and their dogs are staying in my hotel. I met a beautiful, enormous but shy dog in the elevator today. He wouldn’t look at me when I tried to take his picture with my phone. One of my dogs does the same thing. How do they know we’re taking their pictures? They might as well let us because they can’t take selfies.
To my right is an odd, to me, Swedish guy who either knows the waitress or is trying very hard to hit on her. He has a full beard, and kind of shaggy, straight, almost greasy looking hair and is wearing a black leather jacket, black wool hat, and what I’m guessing are skinny jeans. I think he knows her. She keeps returning to talk to him. He still seems a bit odd to me. He’s clutching a piece of paper and glancing about furtively.
I’m here for a work conference. About six and a half years ago through a set of miraculous and extraordinary circumstances I landed this job, which has taken me to many places I never would have gone, including this weekend trip to the Big Apple. A woman who seems to know me from work somewhere just walked by and said hello and I feel badly that I don’t remember who she is. I regularly meet a lot of new people in my job, so it’s possible that I’ve forgotten who she is, but I think she’s mistaking me for someone else. At some point I’ll crack and ask where I know her from.
Why is this particular moment one I want to hold onto? In my life I’ve only had the opportunity to walk around New York City two other times. It really is an amazing city. As you drive into it the iconic skyline looms and you get a sense of specialness. As if just being there is something. It’s one of those places that you see on television or in movies so often that it seems to be more fictional than real. But here I am, sitting right in the middle of it and it looks just like it does in the movies, which is ironic because last spring when they were filming Spider-man 2 they came to my much smaller upstate city to film some of the New York City street scenes.
Tonight I went to the New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. That was pretty cool. It’s one of those places that seems larger than life because of its history and how often I’ve seen it on television. I got a free bobblehead of the teams star when I walked in. Then I got some popcorn and a beer and found my seat to watch the game. Periodically throughout the game they showed the celebrities in the front row; Kevin Bacon, Seth Myers, Christie Brinkley, and Katie Couric as well as a few others that I didn’t know. I doubt that Kevin Bacon is blogging about me right now, but I had just as good a time as he did. Maybe better.
After the game I walked the bustling New York City streets with hundreds of strangers, “Real New Yorkers!” I thought to myself. I tried to act normally and blend in so that I wouldn’t look like the bumpkin rube that I probably am. When I got back to my hotel I decided that between eating in a diner, walking the streets, going to the Garden and staying in a hotel with dog show contestants, I was having a pretty nice night.
As always, if you enjoy #ThePhilFactor feel free to share by one of the social media buttons below or just leave a comment or click like. Have a great weekend! ~Phil
I’m jealous. I’ve been to New York once but I had 52 school kids with me (American History and Politics trip) and I couldn’t see all the things I wanted to, so I’d love to go back! Have a wonderful time!
Admittedly I volunteered for this work trip partly to have exactly the kind of night I did. You should come back some time. When I go to London in May you’ll have to tell me what are the best sights to see.
I certainly will! Remind me later when you’re going and I’ll let you know where to go!
Always feel like that in NYC!
I’m thinking I may come back for a long weekend now and then.
You had a wonderful experience in a city that practically explodes with energy. I spent a lot of time there when I lived in Manhattan and Forest Hills as a child and teenager and, later, as an adult on visits to see my mother. You can spend days exploring the streets and shops and museums, finding hidden treasures everywhere.
Now that I know at least this little corner of it a bit better I may visit more often. I may ask you for suggestions of things to see and places to go the next time I come here.
I haven’t been there in years since my mother died. However, there is a place where she lived called Tudor City, a cul de sac community on the lower East side that has a little park where you can rest and bring your lunch to eat. I understand that now they have some little shops. Of course, you have to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and view their treasures. A boat trip around the island will give you a surprising perspective on the city. Go to a play or to, even though they are expensive now. There is nothing like seeing a play on Broadway at night.
You lived here too? I envy all the experiences you’ve had living different places.