Monday, July 06, 2009

I like New York in June, how about you?

Okay, okay.

It's July.

But, as the lyricist well knew, July doesn't scan here. And not much rhymes with it, other than "Yankee Doodle, do or die." Which was already taken.

Anyway, whatever the season, I like New York.

We're here after making an impromptu decision to spend a few days in "The City."

The stars and stripes were aligned: frequent flyer miles that got us down here for $10 in total; a "third night free" hotel deal; and June-perfect weather after a lllloonnngggg, gray, rainy, dreary June.

So here we are, in what is - let's face it - the greatest city in the world.

Just walking around and absorbing it all - pretzel vendors, Vuitton-knock-off hawkers, jumbled shops with bulging sidewalk racks with $9 dresses that look like they'd turn to napalm if you got them near a light bulb.  Fast talking, fast walking, spitting on the sidewalk New York. We are staying in the Penn Station - Herald Square area, not in the more rarified Manhattan precincts where the shops sell real Vuitton bags.  But this is New York - in all its rich polyglot, melting pot glory.

Our hotel choice was made on the basis of the third night free at a small chain where we have stayed once before. This round, the only hotel that had rooms in the inn with the third night free was the one smack dab across from Madison Square Garden. A garden spot location, by no means. But, ah, the New York-i-ness of it all.

When we checked in, the clerk remarked on our being from Boston, and announced herself as a Red Sox fan.  She noticed the Red Sox pin on my blue and white sweater - actually worn because I wanted to be a bit patriotically tri-couleur, and the only red garment I own is a turtleneck that's buried with the rest of my winter clothing.

And so, we started chatting with a native New Yorker who's a rabid member of Red Sox Nation and who, through her Dominican-born father, knows David Ortiz (our Big Papi) and Manny Ramirez (our former Manny-being-Manny).

And so, our third-night-free suite on the seventh floor air shaft became a third-night-free 26th floor suite with patio. Overlooking the Fourth of July fireworks. (Bonus: we can also see the tip of the Chrysler Building, my favorite building ever.)

And so, while we walked down to the river earlier in the evening just to experience the crowd, as darkness grew  nigh, we headed back to our aerie, and lounging on our patio saw not only the pretty-darned-good fireworks display from NY but smaller, in-the-distance shows from over in New Jersey.

The fireworks ended just in time for us to catch the Boston fireworks on TV. I must say that the fireworks shot off from the Charles River were, in my opinion, more varied and beautiful than those shot off from the Hudson. But I have to give it to NYC on sheer volume.

It's nice to see that - depressed economy be damned - it's still possible to go blow-out and celebrate our nation's birth with a bang, not a whimper - and in doing so celebrate all the wild, tacky, hodge-podge, brilliant, exuberant, pulsing, diverse, creative, pushy, gorgeous, and extreme everything that has followed that glorious birth.  Is there anyplace else in the country that better exemplifies what the United States is, has been, and can become than New York City?

I love New York in July, how about you?


To read another paean to New York: Still the One.

1 comment:

valerie said...

Isn't it great not to be too old to get excited, make that delighted ... about something like your sudden upgrade to the 26th floor (with patio). I love fireworks and could imagine the happy excess of all you got to see from your citified perch. I had a poor man's version of the experience having to work all weekend when I discovered I could see the Burlington fireworks from my new apartment deck. But one of the best ever was some years back. I was flying at night east to west and was able to see so many displays from above. Thanks for sharing the experience and a celebration of this incredible country.