A Long Walk (off a long pier)

A (typical?) interesting day in New York
This post was meant to be about my company’s guide to America for its Indian employees. But I was too lazy to go through that document and post the funny stuff here. Also, because I have no politically-charged stuff to write about, this post is just a (maybe-boring) journal entry.

Ok, so as some of you may know, TTG is in New York. After shifting from one place to another all of last week, I finally have a small cubby hole of my own to call home for the next 6 months or so. Anyway, not knowing anybody (who lives close enough to me) in NYC, I figured I’d just get on the subway, and aimlessly wander around Manhattan. So I left my basement cave in ultra-ethnic Jackson Heights (I owe Sulekha.com for this place!), hopped on the subway, and got off at 42nd St (Times Square). About 4 years ago, after lunching there, at the Olive Garden, I wandered off North with an old friend of mine. We walked, along Central Park, from Times Square to the Gugenheim Museum. This time, I decided to head South, in search of the Apple Store, to see what the iPod Shuffle looked like. On the way I stopped in Old Navy, and didn’t find anything I liked. Then I stopped in H & M, and saw a supercool blazer for $129. But I had feeling that I was too overweight for it -( So anyway, I just decided to walk far south, along 7th Avenue, and it was at some point in that journey that I decided to go see the WTC site instead. I did not lose anybody in 9/11, although it is somewhat connected to my being laid off 3 years ago, but then everything is connected to everything.. Also, while many people have been to the WTC viewing gallery, I have only peed in the basement restroom…so I guess I don’t really have any attachment to it, but I figured I’d go there simply because I could. So after one very sweet, delicious Cappucino and Chicken Fajita from McDonald’s, I was off searching. I knew that I just had to follow 7th Avenue southwards and I should be able to find it. I didn’t want to ask anybody, because of my own prejudices – I assumed that if they found somebody with brown skin asking about the WTC, they’d have me arrested or something. But it turned out to be easy to spot. Amidst a thick concrete jungle is a gaping hole, and now a big construction site – which will be home to: The Freedom Tower, a big park, two large square pools which represent the towers, and a futuristic transportation centre which will house the PATH trains and the NY Subway. It’s really odd, most of New York is surrounded by the regular city noises, but the construction site is eerily quiet…but then again maybe the workers are off on Saturdays..
Strange, I went looking for iPod shuffles, and instead end up at the site of America’s worst terrorist disaster. By this point I was very tired (Hey I walked something like 42 blocks, of course New York blocks are shorter!), so I boarded the E train to head home. When I got on, I saw to African American kids sitting in a corner counting some money. Then, as the train started moving, these two kids walk to the center of the carriage, shout “Ladies and Gentlemen, can we have your attention please?”. Then they turn on a small stereo they were carrying, and start break-dancing, in the middle of the subway carriage. Usually, the subway is full of people who look perpetually grumpy. These guys managed to put a smile on their faces, and mine too. They did some pretty cool acrobatics too, and then proceeded to ask for donations, which caused my wallet to be $1 lighter. Then 2 subway stops later, they were gone, replaced by the usual bunch of black, white, yellow and brown faces crowding the subway…..
Finally I got off at Jackson Heights, only to be greeted by the now-familiar Bangladeshi-owned Indian restaurants, sari shops and Patel Cash & Carries dotting the area. All-in-all, an interesting day in New York.

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