Friday, November 13, 2009

Bullet-Point Friday: New York

  • I've now been to New York City four times: to march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in November 1986, to enjoy spring break of 1989 with my cool friend Linnie, to celebrate my birthday with old (read: even older) friends in February 2009, and to support Stephen as he ran the marathon a few weeks ago.
  • The first time I visited New York City, we stayed tethered to the touristed sites: the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Rockettes' holiday show at Radio City Music Hall. And of course Christmas shopping at Macy's. I have a photograph I took of the World Trade Center from the Liberty Island Ferry.
  • After one hellacious semester at my undergraduate alma mater, my friend Linnie and I decided to head to New York for spring break. It promised to be a great trip, especially since Linnie had lived there before, and she had a friend who had offered to let us stay with him. It turned out he was an RA for a college on Long Island, so we ended up living in a dorm while most of their students were celebrating spring break in warmer climes. Taking the train into Manhattan every day was part of the excitement.
  • Linnie is an older African American woman I became friends with over the fall semester when we worked together in the basement costume shop under the proscenium stage theater. Our sewing machines were on the same table, so we faced each other every time we worked on a project. And we talked and talked. We had the same taste in music at the time. So while on vacation we hit as many hot spots as we could in Harlem: one night a blues bar, another night a small jazz ensemble. And reggae was provided by the one Bahamian student who stayed in the dorm with us. We saw Mike Tyson and Arsenio Hall at amateur night at the Apollo. We saw the musical revue Black and Blue on Broadway.
  • While riding the subway one afternoon, a homeless man boarded. Linnie leans over and whispers in her thick Black Southern accent, "I smells a CHUD." There was a time when this story was part of my repertoire during small talk at parties.
  • Now I don't remember if that was on the same day as the "Long Island Iced Tea Incident" or not. While ordering a meal at a fancy restaurant, I asked for an iced tea. I have spent most of my life in Texas after all. The waitress clarified: "A Long Island Iced Tea?" Knowing that I was on Long Island, I assumed it was just a local variety of "iced tea". It tasted a bit strange, but I didn't mind. It wasn't until I stood up to leave that I felt the effects of the alcohol. You must remember too that at that age I was quite a lightweight when it came to drinking. I remember slurring something like, "I think my tea had some alcohol in it" to Linnie, who laughed and explained to me what I had drunk. The subsequent subway ride was a blast.
  • I stayed in touch with Linnie for many years after that. But we lost touch with one another after we last spoke on September 12, 2001, the day I was scheduled to move to Warsaw.

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