♥ing New York: Why I (still) live here

Note contest at the end!
Some time ago I was waiting on a traffic light topping the very steep incline of West 165th street by Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. On one side of the street, going downhill, was a man in baggy jeans and flapping windbreaker riding a supermarket shopping cart at impressive speed towards the teeming traffic below on Riverside Drive. On the other side of the street, striding uphill, was an attractive woman en route to some appointment, confirming plans on her cell phone while sporting giant red bubble shoes, polka dot balloon pants, an elegant haircut, a bowler hat, and full white face clown makeup. Being delighted to be exactly where you are may be an aim of Zen; it’s also one of the reasons those of who–with or without the ♥– love NY.

I never thought I would end up in New York. Growing up in the nearby suburbs was too confined for me but not in the way people usually mean: my future self positioned me on a country estate, writing novels, coming to the city only occasionally to meet with my publisher or to take my future children to the Nutcracker at Christmas time. I tried to get far away twice in my adult life: once at college and once in my mid twenties.

Then I married an immigrant who thought NYC was everything one needed in life. Visions of free standing houses and space and gardens still danced in my head but we’ve only made it as far north as the Riverdale section of the Bronx, 10 blocks from the city line.

I also was on my cell phone at the same time the clown woman was, talking to a bored friend who lives amidst my coveted rural splendor in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And that was the day I got it, this New York thing that keeps me, uneasily, here, in this messy reuben sandwich of details and random juxtaposition. The day of the clown lady and the flying supermarket cart is the day I credit with making me know enough to take this picture, some years later one afternoon on 5th Avenue and 62nd street.
Here’s the challenge: How many parking tickets are there? Send in your count!
The first 3 winners get a signed print. Deadline: January 21

I Love NY

17 comments

  1. Understand completely. The city makes me crazy and then just like
    that, I see someone or something and I can’t imagine being happier
    anywhere else.

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  2. Belatedly, I’d say about 25.

    But more to the point: A near-native New Yorker, I’d been living on the West Coast for about five years when, on visit here, I found myself standing on a midtown street (waiting for a light? a bus? – whatever) . Behind me passed, in rapid succession, three different pairs of people – different ages, colors, and styles — in which one person was earnestly engaged in full-bodied kvetching and the other was drinking it in. And I felt a wave of good fellowship and nostalgia for my home town. New York is the only place (in the US anyhow) where complaining is a joyous act of fraternity.

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  3. The answer is 28. It would be 64 but for the police “quality of life” slowdown.

    Ah… ” ‘quality of life’ slowdown “. Run with that one, Anna, in a future post.

    Looking forward to seeing more from you. If you don’t mind.

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  4. um, 41 (seems llike it should be a prime number)
    perhaps this person uses these parking tickets like garlic to a vampire to ward off the evil spirits of the parking demons
    My wise Dad says “Being a NYer, one has to account for at least 5-10 tickets a year” … the craziest one ever…parked for pizza in a HUGE spot on W251 and Bway not realizing it was a bus stop…$165 for a slice

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  5. I guess my first comment didn’t record. I said that I moved to NYC (Manhattan) a little over 2 years ago from San Diego. My SD friends couldn’t believe I would leave “paradise” but I didn’t see it that way. I was lulled to sleep in SD. I love NYC. Everyday I leave my apartment I know anything can and will likely happen. There is the “spitting woman” the man that barks for his silent dog, Joe the “rag-man” and I could go on and on. This place is alive and you are in the middle of it. Always better to be awake than asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I got 35 the first time, then 29 the next two times. Should I average them out? I am guessing there are more on the floor. What I want to know is how this New Yorker has avoided a Denver boot after all those parking tickets?

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  7. I moved here from the genteel, laid back (too laid back) San Diego two+ years ago. It’s been so fun to be in Manhattan. I explained to a SD friend recently, every day I leave my place I know something interesting can most times does happen. The spitting woman (who has added shrieking to her repertoire), the man who barks for his silent dog, Joe the rag-man, and I could go on for hours. If you want to feel like you are in the middle of life instead of on the sidelines just observing, NYC is the place for you.

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