Friday, October 2, 2009

New York Impressions 7:30 a.m. 9/26/09

Urban Language, 2009

The UN General Assembly’s been in session this past week. Even though most of the big names have all gone home, a few prime ministers, presidents, despots and dictators are said to still be around. Security is high. Nearby streets remain closed.

It’s surprisingly quiet. Traffic is light. No one needs to honk a horn. Even the buses sounds as if muffled. Haven’t heard a car alarm go off in over an hour.

Grand Central is teeming with policemen. The news says no attempt is being made to conceal heightened security at major transportation hubs, hotels and attractions this weekend. Just about anywhere you look inside the terminal you see clusters of police officers. I watch two of them escort a deranged woman from ticket hall. The officers watching over the Vanderbilt Hall entrance are trying to act like they’re paying more attention to the Columbian art/tourism exhibit than they are to the lumpy backpacks of visitors.

Police officers are stationed at every corner for several blocks around Grand Central. They look bored. Some are directing traffic, of which there is almost none, just to have something to do.

People in suits and dresses who have to work on Saturday are slowing walking from trains and subways to work. People who worked last night are exiting via loading docks. They don’t wear ties. Their cars are parked on the street.

Little patches of bright sky and blue water are visible as you look east and west on the cross streets.

Clothes hangers left over from Fashion Week litter the sidewalk beside Bryant Park.

Intrepid tourists, speaking an array of languages, begin to fill coffee shops. Europeans are recognizable by their shoes. A family from Ohio asks me for directions to the Disney Store.

A man in a sharp tuxedo walks into the New York Yacht Club. A waiter? A cocktail party guest who thought the invitation said 7:30 a.m.?

There’s a man walking down Fifth Avenue speaking loudly into a cell phone as if he’s very important and dropping names so the rest of us will think so, too. William Shatner. Shecky Green. Elke Sommer. We’re not buying it. Even the Europeans can tell he's full of it.

Workmen are roping off a stretch of the sidewalk over which they will shortly be hoisted up to wash windows.

In the windows at Paul Stuart, well-dressed mannequins with rough textured faces are arranged as if talking to one another over a drink in the club car on the train to Greenwich.

Above us all, the buildings speak to each other in the language of light.

[This is my 100th post to What I Saw. I didn't know if I'd make it this far. I mean, a person's only got so many stories, right? I plan to keep at it; my pile of pictures gets taller every day and there are still stories to be told. Thanks for coming along with me. Know that I always welcome and appreciate your comments.]


  1. Wonderful!

    Congratulations on your blog--I'm really enjoying it every day.

  2. 100 posts is quite a milestone. Congratulations! I like your blog very much.

  3. Chris, I love your stories and I always read your blog. Thanks for the effort and keep 'em coming.

    btw, isn't it nice to hear less honking horns in the city? It's the laws and fines. I love it.