Tag Archives: New York

Row’n time


By no means am I an expert at the row machine.  In fact, once while I was working out at my gym on the upper west side (westside!) an orientation tour came in to talk about the different machines.  I  tried to show off how well I listened during my own tour and how obnoxiously good I was at rowing.  The tour guide had to correct me, as I wasn’t sitting up straight enough. Burn.  Blow to the ego!  Need I remind you I am NOT a fitness person either…

That being said, you should sit up straight and pull the bar into your stomach, NOT your chest.  That was my mistake.  And when you pull, pull with your arms.  It is easy to get lax and let your legs do all the work.   Pulling should also be a fluid motion, not a large pull at the beginning that does all the work, then lets you relax for the rest of the stroke. Lastly, you get out of it as much as you put in.  You can just do your thing OR you can get a full workout.  Your call.  But I like it non the less.


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begging, or something like it

I was riding the L home and a guy got on the train.  He began making an announcement to the packed car as soon as the doors closed.  “Good evening ladies and gentlemen.”  You know any speech that starts like that is a ploy for money.  Everyone continues what they are doing, pretending to ignore him but actually listening.  He had a loud, nasal voice and balled up his hand suggesting some sort of deformity.  “I do not mean to cause offense, but I am a good man trying to make the best of a bad situation.”

Honestly, my heart broke, as it always does underneath my skepticism.  The bums here aren’t nearly as good at their speeches as they are in the Big Apple, but this one got me.

If it weren’t for the fact that in the middle of his speech he coughed and under his breath said, “excuse me” in a nearly inaudible tone–a tone that did not match the voice with which he spoke–I might have looked in my bag for an uneaten Kashi bar.  Oh, that and the fact that his clothes, bag, shoes, and leather coat all looked decent.  I always check the shoes.  Those are key.  Not that I should be judging anyone…sigh.

About 10 minutes later, after he’d left our car for another, he came back and started the same speech over–word for word–with the same inflection.  This time adding an uncontrollable footstomp for dramatic affect.  I wanted to say, “dude, you’ve already hit this car.  And none of us fell for it.  Move on.”

But I kept quiet, nose in my book, as I always do.

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NY sleeps alone tonight

I’ve been thinking about New York lately.  Wondering if she misses me and feels a bit replaced.

Chicago is a great city.  A fabulous city.  But it is not New York.  I miss the corner grocers with endless fruit and flowers that made my face light up, no matter how hard the day had been.  I miss that awful smell that came when descending into the subway.  I miss the substantial transfers that only seem to exist here at Clark/Lake.  I. miss. the cupcakes.  And the black-and-white cookies.  I miss the hobos that sing and do acrobatics on the subway cars.

In choosing a place to live I remember saying that if New York was in my future it would make itself known.  “I could always get an internship for the summer.”  “I could still look into a second masters.”  “There are jobs in New York.”  I said.  But I also knew that my “yes” to Chicago was a “no” to the Big Apple.  Not that I still can’t go–but my life has direction and meaning here now.  I’d rather finish grad school than take a summer off.  I’m pretty antsy not to be in school anymore and the thought of another degree is much less appealing than a job.  Let’s be serious–there aren’t really library jobs anywhere, most especially New York.

Plus.  New York doesn’t have Deutschs.

And worst of all, I’m happy here.


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“She once told Ives, while they walked along the boardwalk of Coney Island, that, in her opinion the troubles in life were started by people who never looked into their own souls.  He walked along holding her hand and nodding.  He was astounded, a woman nearly as introspective as himself, who loved him.”

Mr. Ives’ Christmas, Oscar Hijuelos

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Top Five Concerts of All Time, no. 5

I lived in New York. Ben Folds was coming to Brooklyn. None of my friends wanted to shell out the money for the ticket, but I would not let solitude keep me from seeing the Ben-Rufus show.

I went by myself. And it was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I took the subway to Prospect Park and got in line with all the other early attendees. People carried blankets and backpacks full of food. I carried my thoughts and my book. When the doors opened people scampered for the best view of the stage. Being I was alone, I was able to squeeze in between two blankets up against a fence with a perfect view of the piano. To my right was a young couple with their two kids, and to my left were a few die-hard fans. When Rufus came on stage I was able to stand and rock out to his songs without worrying what people around me thought. I didn’t have to defend my space. The night was beautiful. And I was there to enjoy every good thing.

Listening to “Not the Same” still makes me want to fly away. The crowd sang along with Ben Folds, as they always do, with this incredible harmony that only comes from a mass of people who have heard the CD a thousand times over.


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your call

I was busy watching the lone episode of American Idol I have ever seen in an attempt to be social and make the most of my visit.  It was not until I excused myself and lay upon the lonely bottom bunk of a bed somewhere in Brooklyn that I realized I’d missed your call.  “Hi.  It’s me,” the message proclaimed.  I will never forget your tone.  Half laughing, half worried.  “We’re, ah, leaving first thing in the morning.  So, if, ah, I don’t talk to you, have a good rest of your break.”

I desperately wanted to tell you about my day and worried I wouldn’t have access to your voice for well over a week.  I saved the message, knowing that I could always return to it.  I dialed your number, hoping that you were still awake.  Part of me objected to the digits I touched upon the keypad–for I so wanted to be independent.  To not need you.  Even if I was alone.  And in Brooklyn.  You were never a part of this life, and as much as I missed you, were you a part of it now?

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the Half-Blood Prince

I had been waiting for a transfer at the 59th Street Circle for what seemed like hours.  Check watch.  Another five minutes has gone by.  Check tunnel.  Still no train.  There was something about this particular stop in the middle of the night that took forever.

When a train finally arrived, bringing a gushing wind and a jolting stop, the doors opened and I pushed aside fellow commuters to ensure I, too, could board.  Why were there so many people?  It was seemingly unusual for that hour.

Most faces were stuck in books.  Normal.  No one ever wants to make eye-contact on a subway.  Most faces also wore large black-framed classes.  Not normal.  The same black-framed glasses.  The faces were all buried in the same book.

Ms. Rowling had kept the city out late that night.  And I had a feeling no one would be getting much sleep anytime soon.

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