Manhattan 2005, part 4By Wade Kwon
The 18th story
Itâ€™s quiet, and Iâ€™m feeling lazy. Iâ€™ve got a 2 p.m. lunch with more NYT people, so Iâ€™m taking it easy. I had planned to go to MOMA, but it worked out better anyway … MOMA is free on Fridays from 4 to 8, saving $20. Who says there are no bargains in New York?
And I had thought about a quick visit over to Central Park, but no. Inertia wins out. Better to save my strength for the night ahead. So Iâ€™m in the apartment after a late wake-up just hanging.
When I finally venture out, the sun is bright. Iâ€™ve got to make eight blocks in 10 minutes, in heavy pedestrian traffic. Along Broadway, I see two military officers in full armor and carrying semi-automatics. A block later, three more, same gear. Those TRL fans mustâ€™ve really pissed off Carson.
I wonder how New Yorkers feel about the presence of armed soldiers protecting their turf. I know Iâ€™d be a little uneasy if I saw the same guys patrolling Lakeview.
The two copy editors take me to a nearby barbecue place. OK, you may now commence mocking me for eating barbecue in New York.
Yeah, itâ€™s about what youâ€™d expect, bastardized cuisine at Times Square prices. But, I have little to carp about. The food was decent, and free, though find me a restaurant anywhere in Manhattan that isnâ€™t charging me $2.50 per tiny glass for Diet Coke.
One of the editors is from Arkansas, the other was a native New Yorker. The second one worked in Philadelphia for 20 years, and now commutes daily. From Philadelphia. From Philadelphia! Iâ€™ve been told this is not unusual, and folks commute from Philly, Connecticut, wherever. This guyâ€™s commute is actually shorter than some coming from Long Island.
Anyway, lunch is still interview time, so I field the questions as best I can. Hard to get the brain working for some reason.
Itâ€™s all amusing, but when lunch is over, I scramble to the library for a little more down time. Once again, I havenâ€™t even read the paper.
Itâ€™s the central library (recently featured in â€œThe Day After Tomorrow,â€ which had an online trivia contest that netted my colleague a trip to the Arctic Circle. Thatâ€™s right, his vacation blog kicks my vacation blogâ€™s ass five ways to Sunday.)
A short downtime later, Iâ€™m hustling back to the building, and itâ€™s raining.
See why I shoulda stayed in bed?
The daily planet
I was supposed to go to the Page 1 meeting, but that got bumped to the next day. Instead, Iâ€™m twiddling my thumbs at my desk. Feeling restless, I track down the copy desk chief to get going.
My former boss S. is on duty tonight. He runs over at one point with an urgent bulletin: Scrushy has just quit the black church.
During a break, I wander up to the 11th floor to make a phone call. You can see a stretch of the night skyline, though the original 1 Times Square is partially obscured by the relatively new Reuters building. The Times is moving in 2007 to a new 50-story building, and the current building has already been sold.
Anyway, itâ€™s like being up in our newspaperâ€™s cafeteria when itâ€™s quiet. You can see the city, you can take a moment, itâ€™s all out there before you.
Getting home, I just want a drink. Iâ€™m leaving close to midnight, later than the previous two nights, and I still have my shoulder bag and suit on. I spot a jazz club I had somehow overlooked before. Closed.
I wander over to the restaurant from the first walk home. The bar is closed.
If I wasnâ€™t lugging this bag (with laptop) around, I wouldâ€™ve jumped into the first bar I smelled, but nope.
When you walk along the streets, you sometimes feel the whoosh of the subway going by underneath the long strip of grates.
I give up, head in, no drink, no dinner. It wasnâ€™t a long day, but now, it feels it.