Oh, my! Am I ever out of date!
I’m afraid I am a tad snide about New Yorkers in the first and second Broom books. I based my thoughts on too many movies and TV series. New Yorkers are pushy. New Yorkers won’t give you the time of day. The world revolves around New York.
At least I can say that no one contradicted me. Someone should have.
I had been to Long Island on business, years before, flying through La Guardia. I saw Manhattan across the river, but from that vantage point it looked like a concrete jungle. My business on Long Island was relatively straightforward (teaming arrangements for an aerospace contract) and I was introduced to the best Italian food I’ve ever had before or since.
This past week my outlook changed completely. My (real) work took me to the IBM Research labs in Hawthorne and Yorktown Heights, both within easy driving distance from the Tarrytown Marriott. As it turned out, I had last Thursday free from about 2:00 p.m. on. So I took a cab to the Tarrytown train station, took the train to Grand Central Terminal (not “Grand Central Station”) and entered a world such as I have never seen.
Armed with a map of lower Manhattan, I began my exploration. Times Square. Central Park. Wall Street. The World Trade Center site. Battery Park.
So what are my impressions?
It was not anything like I’d imagined. I hasten to say that nothing causes me to want to rewrite the New York scenes from Broom 1—they’re accurate. But still.
New York is clean. Very clean. No trash anywhere. No graffiti. Spiffed up. Exactly the opposite of what I’d expected.
New Yorkers are pleasant and helpful. As I struggled to figure out the subway system, various folks stepped in to volunteer their help. No one was rude. People seemed respectful. They understood I was a tourist and seemed intent that I’d have a pleasant time.
The World Trade Center site is much bigger than I expected. I’d figured a city block. No. Several city blocks. Acres and acres. I was surprised that after eight years the reconstruction hadn’t risen above ground level, but I hear there was considerable discussion as to what should be built, if anything. Oh, and Wall Street is just around the corner from the WTC site. As in feet away.
Oh. Wall Street. It turns out the NYSE is not on Wall Street! It’s on the SW corner of Wall Street and Broad Street and actually faces Broad Street. The NYSE is blocked off with anti-terrorist stuff. Hordes of policemen guard the place (I wandered by after hours). I asked someone to take my picture using my cell phone. He readily agreed.
I must mention Battery Park, again so clean that I stooped to pick up a lone, wayward napkin. Across the Hudson is the Statue of Liberty, and next to it is Ellis Island (I didn’t know they were so close). My maternal grandfather went through Ellis Island 101 years ago. I will admit I cannot look upon the Statue of Liberty without getting a tad emotional.
It is, however, true that I’m bipolar and that noise is something that can throw my illness off-track. NY is noisy. Very noisy. After about three hours I headed back to Tarrytown.
Do I plan to go again? You bet! This was just a quick reconnaissance trip. NY has so many things to see it would take months of disciplined sightseeing.
So, New Yorkers, my apologies for being so rude to you when you were so polite to me. The next time I stop by on my broomstick, I will tell everyone the truth. My thanks!