A few hours later, I was in New York. I checked into the Vanderbilt YMCA, just a few blocks away from the British Embassy. No further explosions, though.
As for the Y, it was perfectly adequate. My private room, though small, had a color TV, a refrigerator, an alarm clock, a towel — everything, really, except a private bath. For $75 a night, it’s a good place to flop.
I had dinner with Phil and Jen Thursday night, and with Ed the Meat Poet Friday night. And of course I attended the Share, Share Widely conference, which was the whole reason for the trip.
Everything went smoothly, and I think that may be why the whole trip seemed kind of unreal to me: no friction, no pain, no proof that I was really there.
All told I spent 40 hours in the city. I observed the following:
- People walk faster.
- I wasn’t panhandled, not even once.
- I only saw two homeless people.
- Everything seemed very “safe” — plenty of hustle and bustle, but no dangerous edge, none of the tension I remember from previous visits.
- Chain stores have taken over.
It was unpleasantly and unseasonably cold in New York, so I was glad to return to New Orleans. Xy was supposed to pick me up from the airport at 9:45 yesterday morning, only she thought that was New York time, and so she added an hour and was planning to be there at 10:45 — never mind the fact that arrivals and departures are always given in local time, not to mention that she should have subtracted, not added. Well, she got me eventually, but damn, what a ditz!