Spent the weekend in NYC with the Wifey. We were focused on the isle of Manhattan, and specifically in the Times Square super-touristy area. It was a nice time, and if we had more time for carousing and less for a dance audition, it would have been even better.
We took Amtrak to go from Boston to NYC, and it will be the last train ride we take in the USA. The train managed to fry its engine, and we were delayed by 40 minutes. This delay caused me to miss out on seeing the Knicks play in MSG. I've always wanted to see a game at the Garden, and I was angry that Amtrak prevented me from catching a game. As my wife noted when we walked out of the Penn Station, "Madison Square Garden is neither a garden, nor square, and it isn't on Madison Avenue". She's pretty astute.
While the wife tried out for a dance retreat, I wandered around the Times Square area. I probably walked 50+ blocks that day, and did a ton of people watching. While drinking a cup of green tea, a ton of fire trucks passed by me, and 47th was closed. A fire had broken out at a hotel near Times Square. The picture to the left is of the smoke as it passed through the square. One of the weirdest things I saw all day was a man with a fox on his head. It was a dead fox, and it was like a cap to keep him warm in the wintertime. It looked as if a fox was just lying legs spread over his head. Bizarre.
While hanging out and chatting with a guy promoting a Comedy Central show, I struck up a conversation with a homeless bum. I was kind of surprised he was out and about as it truly appears that Rudy's program to "solve" the homeless problem in the 90's was a smashing success. I told this guy he was the last bum in Times Sq. He laughed at this, and admitted to his friends being in different spots of the city. We chatted for a while, and I gave him a ten spot. His grip was incredibly strong for a man with a head of white hair, as we shook hands and parted ways. I alwasy wonder what it takes for a person to spiral down to being a "bum". Is it a long process or a short implosion?
What did I hear all around me throughout the weekend? Foreign languages. I know the dollar has slid versus foreign currencies and coming to America is cheaper for foreigners. It was evident in that probably half of the conversations I overheard throughout the weekend were in a foreign tongue. New York was smart to clean up the city for a variety of reasons, but tourism had to be a huge reason. The dollars that are poured into every little business from foreigners trickles down to everyone. I do wonder if foreigners ever think "Maybe I should visit some other part of the USA", or does the experience with NYers put them off. I recall the Brist I studied with in England had almost all been to NYC. I told them to go elsewhere because we're not all assholes. Sorry NYers, I love your attitude, but I do think you guys are assholes.
One thing I did want to mention is the amazing ability of transportation employees in NYC to be both condescending and incompetent at the same time. I have witnessed it at La Guardia Airport, Penn Station, Subways. The workers look at you like "How are you so stooopid you can't figgur this out". Yet, they are usually the one making the mistake. It's amazing, and only in NY.