Walking down 59th street today, M.Snowe found that the Plaza Hotel, overlooking the park, welcomes its guests with bellhops, concierges, and the unmistakable smell of equine fecal matter. The carriages waiting for over-eager tourists line up on the other side of the road, across from the hotel, and the smell whaffs all the way from the plaza to the Mickey Mantle's down the road. How does anyone eat at all at those ritzy outdoor cafes along the street?
But then, aren't the most times, events, and relationships kind of like that? Don't all our memories and even happy happenstances have, well, the twinge of something unpleasant? And usually, aren't the things we look for in life, that we hold in the highest regard, in fact brought down several notches once we experience them?
New York has lots of contradictions and perpendicularisms. The best restaurants in town leave their abandoned, rotting foie gras on the street corners that people step in with their $200 shoes, unawares, the next morning. But it's not just the businesses that operate in this way--the people too. The young girls with overlarge glasses ahead of you in the lunch line, complaining about their boyfriends and the lack of consideration they show---are the very same ones who snap at the server behind the counter for no reason. The crazy people are accepted as a fact of city life, whereas the perfectly sane and friendly tourists are the first victims to be considered in any new yorker's fantasy subway mutiny. Everyone is a hypocrite at some time, but it seems that NYC is the best place to find the most sharp examples--and they cut you through the skin, or at least make you laugh. The people that seem the most transparent, the easiest to read and understand--they can be the most elusive to get at when you really dig deep. NYC, unlike many other places, is an atmosphere that knows real estate and space is limited--people talk about the most private things, or make the most insane comments in front of a passing public without a second thought because privacy is at a minimum. And because we are thrown together in such tight quarters with such a variety of people, it is easy to assume a comfort level with people who you might not otherwise have established a repoire with in say, Tulsa, Oklahoma, or Bangor, Maine. The inter workings are closer spatially, but it feels like sometimes, the people standing next to you on the street and in the trains, are half a world away.