Although I've lived on the outskirts of Los Angeles for the past 7 years, I spent my formative years on my Uncle Johnny's bucolic cattle farm in rural Virginia. Which is about as far away from NYC as you can get. In my heart I'll always be an 11 year old country girl.
So you can imagine the apprehension I felt at arriving in midtown Manhatten at 1:30 in the morning for the next day's trip to Rhinebeck. The cabbie? He put my country ass right out in the street. I know that's his job. I hail the cab, he drives me to my location, I pay, and he puts me on the street corner at 1:30am. In NYC. AT NIGHT. With no one but my country self. Luckily I was at the right location, somewhere between the planet Mars and 3rd Avenue.
I felt a dash of terror when I got to the correct building and spotted a chain with a lock around the wrought iron gate. I furtively glanced back and forth awaiting the New York City robbers who prey on Country Bumpkins to jump out of invisible corners and contemplated that my very heavy suitcase would act as the consummate battering ram.
Finally I reached over and tugged on the wrought iron and the gate opened. A doorman appeared out of no where and handed me the prearranged key and I made my way into safety, away from the robbers of spinning wheels and hayseed.
New York City is loud at night. You hear it on teevee and in movies but the reality is the city really is actually bustling into the wee hours of the morning. Honking, brakes squealing, people cussing. Did I mention the beeping? My god, it's full of beeps. Then I heard the most iconic New York City phrase of all time on my first visit to the city in 18 years. "Hey, fuck you" from one passerby to the next on the street that night. Good thing my country ass was comfortably ensconced in a wrought iron enclosed, doorman protected domain.
Then there were the experiences that were quintessentially New York.
Jaywalking across the street against the light. (I confess to crossing with the herd)
Watching out of the corner of my eye a delivery man fight a parking ticket with lots of gesticulation and a bit of early morning coffee.
"Hey fuck you."
Hailing a cab outside of Grand Central Station after the beautiful 2 hour train ride from the Hudson Valley back into NYC.
Defending my cab when someone tried to steal it.
Smirking as the rest of the cab line admonished the cab stealer.
Walking around Park and 5th Avenues, with a tourists eye as we passed the Apple store and a quick jaunt through Central Park. I saw the Plaza hotel where Charlie Sheen did his most recent thing at. Past Horse Transoms where the horses politely stood with two feet on the sidewalk. Gawking at the Waldorf Astoria. Making dumb jokes about stopping in for a Waldorf Salad even though I don't eat meat (again).
It was an amazing trip. Although in my cab on the way back to Kennedy airport I was at the mercy of more NYC style driving. Los Angeles rates pretty highly in the arena of crazy fucking drivers. But we ain't got nothing on New York City cabbies in early morning midtown rush hour traffic destination JFK.
And that's when I fell in love with the city.Read more »