Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New York. See?

I felt sick in the cab to the airport. My adorable black flats were soaked through from the puddles and my hair hung wetly around my face. My coat was covered with speckles of water and the windows around me were fogged from the surfeit of moisture.

“Keep it,” I said of the change once we arrived and waved my hand at the driver. “Thank you.” I followed Sibling inside, grateful for her leadership qualities as she found her way to our terminal and decided what to do for dinner.

“Are you OK?” she asked after we sat in comfortable chairs on the lower level of LGA. She nodded sympathetically when I merely said “headache” and watched as I downed two Advil with my soda. Sipping her tea, she told the waitress I’d have soup and was blessedly quiet while I willed the sickness to ease.

About 10 minutes later, I made eye contact and offered a weak smile. “I think I’m better.”

“It was probably the wind and the cold, followed by a bit of motion sickness, with your sinus infection,” she decided and I nodded. All flights had been delayed – the same wind that threatened to blow the glasses right off my nose and the pouring rain that made it impossible to see the city through those same glasses slowing the progress of flights into and out of the city.

“I did have fun,” I offered. “Thank you for going with me.”

When we failed to catch a cab – I’m not good at it and have little desire to learn – at 4PM, we ordered our local host to drop us off somewhere interesting. “It’s my first time in New York,” I told him to soften the inconvenience and a trip through the park and many stoplights later, Sibling and I found ourelves taking pictures at Rockefeller Center.

I nodded eagerly when asked if I wanted to see Times Square and we wandered in the direction a friendly New Yorker pointed when asked. I was preparing to smile and thank her when she hurried off so Sibling and I shrugged and moved along in the opposite direction.

“It’s different than I thought,” I noted as we wandered. “I thought I’d feel more closed in and intimidated. It’s really just a city.”

She looked at me and recoginizing her expression as a desire for clarification, I shrugged. “There’s plenty of room on the sidewalks and not many people around.” We passed a clock that indicated it was just after 5. “There are buildings and they’re tall, but they have those in Chciago. There are people and cars, but that’s also in London. It’s no more snooty than Paris. No more scary than LA. I guess I just expected,” I trailed off. “I waited too long to see it,” I decided more confidently. “Whenever you build something up in your mind, it’s bound to be disappointing.”

Still, we bought cupcakes at the sweetest little bakery. We grinned and pointed at the things that were interesting. I peered through the windows at Toys R Us and stood for a moment facing the massive screens and bright lights across the street.

“I’m ready,” I said after about 20 minutes of walking. “I’m cold and wet and worried about getting a ride to the airport.” So we set about hailing a cab. In Times Square. In the rain.

“So,” Sibling summarized after I’d eaten my soup, cleared security and found our gate, “you – Katie – who has clear opinions about basically everything, are left without a strong impression of New York City.”

Hearing how odd that seemed – for Chicago feels like part of the family, I have a mad crush on London and was left breathless by Paris – I paused to consider it. “Circumstances were non-ideal. We were only here a few hours and saw a tiny bit of the city in pretty miserable weather.” Thinking it had been cold and rainy on my first day in Paris, I frowned. “No,” I finally replied. “I don’t have a strong opinion. I’d certainly come back if properly motivated – I wasn’t at all repulsed. But I don’t feel like I need to plan a weekend trip for fun because I had far too little time here.”

“Huh,” she said.

“Huh,” I agreed and perked up enough to find my boarding pass when they called the flight that would take us home.


lucy said...

I saw New York before Chicago, so the feel of the tall buildings everywhere was new to me. I can see how it would be underwhelming after seeing all those other cities, especially if you only had a couple of hours in the rain. I love New York for the concentration of food and theatre, though.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to agree with you on this one, too... although a large portion of my friends live there now, and the one time I've visited NYC we went to see a musical on Broadway. However, at heart, I'm more of an outdoors person, so cities usually don't impress me that much, unless the architecture is unique. You seem to like being outdoors, too. Anyway, wonders of nature are far more captivating than wonders of man (at least, for me).


Brigindo said...

In my opinion (as someone who was born and bred there) its not the city it used to be.

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