12 things about new york city
After living for seven months in New York, slightly north of the city in the soon to be blooming Hudson Valley, a mere 28 minutes from Grand Central Station…I have some observations to share.
1. There may indeed be 1,352 guitar pickers in Nashville who can pick more notes than the number of ants on a Tennessee anthill, but there are more musicians and performing artists of various shapes and flavors per square foot in this city than any other I’ve ever encountered. Great music can be found virtually anywhere, anytime. As a musician myself, who thought I was not bad nor not great, I am humbled at every turn by the talent here. The bastards.
2. Evidently there is a place east of Manhattan called Brooklyn although I have yet to physically set foot there. But from what I’ve been told and read, there is more Americana and roots music being written and played there than in the entire combined Pacific Northwest. Pedal steels are not uncommon, as are not young classically trained violinists who now play fiddle.
3. For those who thought folk music was only played in suburban strip centers at coffee shops on open mic nights, those people are called singer-songwriters. Folk music in New York and surrounding areas (up to and including Philly to Maine) is a tradition still practiced and passed on by people who hung out with Pete and Woody, listened to music at Alan Lomax’s apartment on his reel to reel and thought Dylan as a youngster was a jerk.
4. Living in this state means that if you choose politics as a career, you have a 78% chance of being either indicted for extorting money or mis-using your office for gain, or you’ll take pictures of your private parts and send them to strangers.
5. If you want to feel perverted and shamed, try looking at somebody in the eyes while on the street or in the subway.
6. At least two or three times a week I become infatuated with waitresses who smile and engage me in a lively conversation. Most are very attractive and very young. It makes me want to start dating again. My son says they are experts in extracting generous tips from older men who are flattered by the attention. Oh how I wish he was wrong.
7. I harp about this a lot, maybe now more than before because I’m going out to see more live music. But the crowds here are old, bordering on elderly. (Again, I’ve yet to experience Brooklyn where my older teen goes several times a week because he says seeing music costs just a couple of bucks usually, and is often free.) At the Leonard Cohen show this past Sunday at Radio City Music Hall that I paid $107.65 to sit up in the second balcony for, the average age had to be at least in the mid-sixties. I joked that the men’s rest room lines now were longer than the women’s. Prostate humor. I assume it’s the high cost, because students and kids making minimum wage can’t afford a week’s salary on one show and still pay the rent. Fortunately, they don’t eat much.
8. One more thing about old people here…as you’ll find on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, there are some members of my generation who still dress in costumes. Hats, scarves, flared and tight jeans, colored tights and short skirts, hair dyed or shaved, gypsy-like or below their station…and I like it.
9. There is a rhythm to the streets and subways; always there, always changing. Very calming to me; probably drives some to despicable acts.
10. The Daily News and New York Post. Really?
11. Maybe Italy has better pizza, but I sort of doubt it. Let’s not go the thin versus thick conversation, just know that the best tasting pies are made here. Don’t argue. But this is strange…when most NY kids have a choice to get a “local” pie or order from one of the chains like Papa Johns or Dominos, they’ll take the chain crap every time.
12. The Strand.
I’ll stop here…perhaps make this into a series. I’m very good at starting series and never returning to them.