Happy Cinco de Mayo!
Instead of the rant, come with me on a late-night walk up Third Avenue from Gramercy to the Upper East Side and let me illustrate why New York is NEW YORK.
There are a lot of bars in the 20s-30s on Third, so walking that strip is always an adventure late at night: simply in terms of navigating through the crowds. Said crowds being more numerous on the street than in any of the bars/clubs along the route as it is late-ish and of course New York no longer allows smoking indoors. If you've ever been in a crowded bar visualize that, with the addition of garbage cans and cars, and you'll have an idea what that little walk is like.
Further up midtown, the 40s, things are deader, because everything there is closed (office buildings, shops, etc.) but there are still a few characters. Like the semi-skateboarding teens. One of whom thought he might 'scare' me by jumping in front of me as I was walking, guess again lightweight. I was on the phone with my friend who was driving out to Long Island after a long day (and trying to stay awake). I was far too engrossed in our conversation to be 'frightened' by some hopped up child from Queens. Puh-leez. I'm sure he was bummed I didn't scream... or flinch. Sorry pipsqueak, try it on someone who was not a juvenile delinquent herself at your age.
In the 50s things are still fairly quiet although I did end up walking behind two little old ladies. Mind you, there's not a soul on the street and I still get caught behind slow walking people. Good Lord, how is that possible?! But more interesting: where in the world were they coming from ... or going to? Dressed to the nines and out on the deserted streets at 2 in the morning.... the possibilities abound. Gotta love it. (I'm guessing the skateboarders wouldn't have frightened them either.)
The 60s were Deader than dead except for the intensely amusing and yet seriously disgusting tableau of two Bridge & Tunnel boys on the phone. These jokers were clearly in the early stages of learning to drink the demon rum (in their case I assume it was Budweiser). They were the type who make St. Patrick's Day a horror show. They were standing in a public phone... I want to say booth, but really they are simply open-ended phone cubbies with 'privacy' dividers. One in each cubbie, talking VERY loudly in obvious fake conversations - they were answering EACH OTHER (boys that's too drunk to try to pull off anything as complex as a fake phone call) while they used these phone cubbies as urinals. Boys: learn to go BEFORE you leave the bar. Also, just because a structure resembles a urinal, doesn't mean it is one. And if I may bring religion in for a moment: thank GOD for cellphones. I will never use a public phone "cubbie" again!
I also stopped to take a photo, since I had my camera with me, of the new bus stop shelters that have been cropping up lately. I love them! They are so colorful, and even marked with the street name (for your convenience). This doesn't look like New York to me, but I likes it any way!!
The 70s saw a few stragglers, all heading downtown as I headed uptown. All was status quo until I hit a store that sells flowers outside. It's a grocery store, and they have a huge street-side flower display. All the buckets of lilacs, tulips, roses (20 for $10!) were off their tiered stands and on the sidewalk while two fellows washed town the shelves. It was surreal and lovely to walk 'through' flowers for 1/2 a block. At the end of the floral walk I passed the guys, one of them flashed the biggest smile and said "hola, how are you" and handed me a rose! Night people sticking together. Tell me that's not New York City at its finest!
This was all on the east side of the street: imagine what was going on across Third Avenue!
Not long after the rose incident I was home, and Basil actually deigned to go out as it was 3 in the morning: thus he could avoid the damaging rays of the sun. Gotta watch the wrinkles. This dog is seriously cracked. But look who raised him. Poor thing, considering he lives with me, his emotional state is pretty damned good.
There you have it. The Niagaras, a lovely walk home and a whopping 3 hours sleep. How was your Friday night?