Strangers on a Train

Art on the High Line, Empire State Building in the background.

I feel like in New York, strangers are as much a part of my life as acquaintances. I share my commute with them, sitting or standing close enough to read snatches of text from their books; I sit with them on benches on nice days in the park; I make brief eye contact walking down the streets. In Oklahoma, I would get to work by driving, encased in my private automobile space, or walk down a practically deserted sidewalk while red dirt blew in spirals from the nearby construction site. But here, you are always out with everyone else, only able to be alone in your apartment, and even there you can hear your neighbors talking upstairs. I hear boats sounding their horns in the bay, airplanes, and sometimes the subway train, all of them moving masses of people around me. The crowds make me claustrophobic sometimes, and I miss the absolute stillness of rural spaces, but then it’s exciting to be around so much life. Just this week I saw a man walking in the East Village with a giant white cockatoo sitting on his arm, and last week I actually saw my hero Ira Glass running across Cooper Square. I love that I could run into anyone at anytime.

Nature peaking through the High Line.

Last Sunday, I met up with Eszter and Elizabeth at Cafe Grumpy (a new coffee favorite) and we walked over to the High Line. I may have mentioned it before, but the High Line is an elevated train track that was turned into a park. I love it, and there are great benches for reading, although the holes in the sidewalk are prone to ankle twisting (I’m careful!). It is a nice way to spend a spring day, walking down the West Side from above.

Alternately awesome and nightmarish street art.

We wandering around Chelsea, the Meat Packing District, and the West Village, visiting some stores and the Chelsea Market. While most of Manhattan has been cleaned of graffiti and street art, there were some interesting pieces to be found, like the above French clown/bird/Marilyn Monroe mashup. Is this the only place to put a paste up or something?


We also saw this delightful Easter window display, probably a favorite of small sensitive children everywhere.

This week has been busy with work and volunteer things. There is a big fancy party that I have to help with tomorrow as part of my full-time job. Maybe I’ll see if I can sneak some pictures of the fancy hotel where it is taking place. I talked to my friend Amanda on the phone last night and she used a great expression about needing to be busy like a shark needs to move to stay alive. I definitely feel like I need to always have a new, more ambitious, project. However, it’s not like all I do is work. Yesterday I spent two hours in Union Square just reading The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster, loosing track of time in the words. I love reading Auster’s books here, because they all take place in New York and you feel like you’re almost in the story’s world. Today I attempted to make progress on The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, a book I’ve been trying to read all year. I only have a quarter left and I refuse to give up.

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