Thursday, June 18, 2009
New York's newest-latest hotspot
OK, ignoring the fact that I saw a very big and very speedy rat the other night, running up the stairs from the subway toward me, I've been having a great time in New York the past couple of weeks. I'm loving "my" Harlem apartment, I'm getting stuff done, and I'm having all sorts of fun social events. And I can avoid the things that were making me miserable a year ago, before I threw in the proverbial towel: crowds of commuters, long late-night waits on grungy subway platforms, my dreary basement office, my job.
Plus, I don't have to lug. I loathe lugging. Trudging home from the grocery store, lugging three or four heavy bags, climbing up the endless stairs to my walk-up apartment - let's just say that at those moments, my life didn't much resemble my childhood visions of life in New York, visions I mainly based on the various glossy white hotel rooms in the Ginger Rogers / Fred Astaire movies. (May I please at least sleep in that bed at some point in my life, even if I never own it?)
My life will never have the glamour quotient of a Ginger Rogers bedtime ensemble, but these days, at least I can travel light: wallet, phone, lipstick, keys, magazine, camera. And instead of rushing to and fro, I can wander, if I like, and let the serendipity factor kick in.
For instance, after our uni extravaganza the other night, Nicole and I ambled over toward the Hudson and found ourselves at one of the entrances to the newly opened High Line. Up we went, and proceeded to be completely undone by the gorgeousness of the setting, the landscaping, the design, the views, The Standard (please may I get drinks here very very soon? and maybe move in?). The High Line is a unique urban space/event that has been instantly embraced by New Yorkers always on the lookout for a new outdoor playground. It's like The Gates, only permanent, and without Jeanne-Claude and her wack hairdo.
It's also quite the mini architecture tour. Along with The Standard, you've got Frank Gehry's building on West 18th, a pair of crazy glow-in-the-dark townhouses, the cool pair of new buildings on West 23rd - and apparently more to come.
I was also struck by the lighting on the High Line; the various ways the plantings, benches, and views were illuminated (or not) was quite fascinating in and of itself.
We sat around for a while, doing some serious people-watching (by which I mean, of course, that we made snide comments about various passers-by, like the couple with the matching frizzy gray nimbuses of hair, straight out of an Edward Koren cartoon). Of the woman in the worst of the unfortunate Friday-night-in-the-Meatpacking-District outfits, Nicole had one word: "Strumpet."