On the corner of Prince and Broadway in Soho:
“Yeah, I know… it’s been rough recently,” I said on the phone to a friend from work. “So anyways, one computer’s broken. And the sale racks are a mess…” Then I catch this man stop and look at me.
“Yeah… okay, well… I gotta go… But I’ll talk to you soon.” The guy is still sitting there. Staring. I pretend he doesn’t exist and hang up the phone. “Wait!” he says. Nooo… I was so close to the subway.
“Yes?” I am the face of unawareness.
“Wanna grab a steak with me at Raouls?” the 35-40 year-old inquires.
Well that’s not what I was expecting.
Whoa! Did I just find a sugar daddy? Is that how it works in this city? You just stand on the street, look a little pathetic, and voila! Dinner arrives at your feet. Too bad I wasn’t interested. Nor do I particularly enjoy steak.
“Uh… ha no. No, but thank you!”
“Are you sure? Do you have somewhere your going? It would only be a steak.”
Yeah right buddy, a steak and a side of me! I know where this is going. I’ve watched both Funny Girl and Law and Order enough times to know our meeting could end two ways: you asking for my number or you trying to kill me.
On the Manhattan-bound N train coming from Queens.
So two homeless people are on the train with about 6-7 trash bags. There are also two twenty-somethings who don't appear homeless, but have fallen asleep on top of each other. Not particularly anything out of the ordinary as isolated events, but all together it’s a bit much to walk into on the subway at 10am.
Next an extremely tall man boards the train at Lexington. He is talking to himself, and then about 3 minutes later begins to sing something in a low, soulful voice.
Alright. I’m now pulling out my headphones. But not soon enough! Because suddenly a man with a guitar hops onto our train and begins singing something in a different language.
Our car has become officially ridiculous. It’s apparent that out of the eight people in my section, me and one other person are simply trying to get to work. But instead, we are sitting in trash bags, and being serenaded by two different singers. Whatever. It’s not a problem. Until…
We finally reach Crazy Train status.
Seven trash bags, two sleeping twenty-somethings, one soulful singer, one guitar player – and then a mariachi band joins us! And if you’ve ever visited me in NYC, you know the mariachi band is my least favorite subway performance because that accordion gets all up in my grill.
I mean really, it was like singing the 12 Days of Christmas trying to recount all the people surrounding me. I could have kissed that dirty ol’ subway ground by the time I reached Times Square.
But then again, I kind of loved it.
My mom and sister were visiting for a school trip this weekend, so I got to reap all the touristy benefits, which included: Seeing Memphis on Broadway (amazing!), doing a behind-the-sceens Radio City Music Hall Tour, and going on Top of The Rock - basically everything I could never afford to do.
Mid-town Manhattan is not my favorite place to be, particularly on the weekend. But this was quite enjoyable.