Notes from the east coast
Posted by keithosaunders on June 23, 2011
I’m a ghost wandering the streets of New York City, my ex-home town of 26 years. It was here that I lived, worked, drank, went to Mets games, and developed into the bitter lump of clay that you see before you. I know this city like the back of my hand — not just Manhattan, but its five boroughs, as well as Westchester and New Jersey. Well…I don’t know Jersey all that well, but nobody does.
The contract between pedestrians and drivers is perfect here. Unlike the Bay Area, where the pedestrians arrogantly flaunt their dominance, the New York foot traffic has a healthy respect for 4,000 pound vehicles. Yet they are not cowed — if they think they can make it across the street without getting mowed down, they will cross, regardless of the color of the light. I think that’s great — more power to them. As long as they don’t cause an accident, I’m happy for them. This is a far cry from the Bay Area, where pedestrians brazenly step into the cross walk with no regard for the drivers.
The subway stations added digital signs which tell you how many minutes until the next train’s arrival. I remember the old days when I would nervously pace the station wondering if I was going to be late to my gig, as I awaited the next train. There was that desperate feeling as you leaned over the tracks, vainly willing the train to arrive; that silent cream of frustration as yet another express passes.
I’ll be here for another six weeks at least — a hostage situation if there ever was one. New York is a great city, but it’s not my city, and I’m going to miss my routine. Not to mention the fact that I’m away from my piano, which means my chops will slowly atrophy.
It’s fitting that as I write this from my friend’s house in the Bronx we are watching the Giants play the Twins on one TV, and the Mets versus the Athletics on an ajacent TV. My worlds continue to collide.