Of course it’s tall darling, it’s New York!
By Peter Hepburn
When I finally closed my mouth and stopped looking like such a wet-behind-the-ears tourist, I realized, “Why yes, I could live here.”
Ah, Times Square. Disneyland gone wrong. It’s tall, it’s bright, there are far too many badly dressed tourists from Middle America. The food is crap and the prices are better suited to diamonds. Oh, but you’ve got to love. Following an overnight drive to New York City during reading break, Times Square – eerily quiet – was confirmation that we had made it. New York was ours.
Eight of us made the trip, seven in one mini-van. A group of library students off to tour special libraries in the big city. Oh how the customs and immigrations agents must have laughed. Because, of course, everyone goes to New York to see the libraries. Well, we did. And why not. The Dag Hammarskjold Library at the UN. The Met Museum libraries. The New York Times Library. These are the big ones. We would not be disappointed.
The UN was up first. Two hours and five tour guides later, we had a very complete idea of the processes there. Regrettably, although I can coordinate belt, watch, and shoes admirably, I can never remember names, and so I cannot credit the librarians adequately here. Rest assured, we appreciated it greatly even if the card catalogue did floor us slightly. On top of that, it was gorgeous weather. The trip was off to great start.
Dinner that night: Thai food in Greenwich Village. Yum!
Day two brought the Met Museum. More names to forget, more great tour guides to thank. We did the main library where Rémi toiled all summer as well as the Pacific/American/African art library. I think I got that right. The highlight may have been the book preservation workshop. All that goop, wow! And then off to the exhibits. The rock and roll fashions were a hoot. You just know that you’d want to try on one of those enormous Ginger Spice Union Jack platforms or the TLC No Scrubs outfits with the throbbing light attachments. God knows I wouldn’t mind having them for the Spring Fling.
Dinner that night: no dinner, but chicken wings and beer after going to see the Broadway production of James Joyce’s The Dead starring the great Christopher Walken (he sings!). And a shout out to author Bonnie Bluh who sat next to us and chatted us up.
Day three was the New York Times in the afternoon. Once again, the tour was well done, and I would argue that the environment of the newsroom would be the most exciting one to work in of the three we’d seen. It poured rain that day, but it had eased off by the time we swung round to NYPL. Okay, how many of us will end up working here? Don’t answer. From there it was a dash to the Staten island Ferry to see the Lady herself, lit up and looming over the harbour. And then dinner.
Yes, I love food. I won’t apologize. And my dears, we struck it rich here: the Pink Teacup in Greenwich Village. Soul food. Intimate. They moved people from their tables to make room for us. The menu featured chittlin’s and such. And when I ordered the ham hocks with black-eye peas and greens, the waitress put her hands on her hips, cocked her head, and asked, “Now where in the South y’all from? You from South Carolina, because that’s what they’d order in South Carolina.”
I was in love.
New York. Quel voyage merveilleux. We should go every week.