Manhattan 2005, part 4


A year ago this month, The New York Times invited me to try out as a copy editor. I filed these travel dispatches originally by e-mail. [part one | two | three | four | five | six | seven]

The 18th story

guardtimessquare.jpgIt’s quiet, and I’m feeling lazy. I’ve got a 2 p.m. lunch with more NYT people, so I’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 I’m in the apartment after a late wake-up just hanging.

When I finally venture out, the sun is bright. I’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 must’ve really pissed off Carson.

I wonder how New Yorkers feel about the presence of armed soldiers protecting their turf. I know I’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.


Done yet?

Yeah, it’s about what you’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 isn’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! I’ve been told this is not unusual, and folks commute from Philly, Connecticut, wherever. This guy’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.

It’s all amusing, but when lunch is over, I scramble to the library for a little more down time. Once again, I haven’t even read the paper.

It’s the central library (recently featured in “The Day After Tomorrow,” which had an online trivia contest that netted my colleague a trip to the Arctic Circle. That’s right, his vacation blog kicks my vacation blog’s ass five ways to Sunday.)

A short downtime later, I’m hustling back to the building, and it’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, I’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, it’s like being up in our newspaper’s cafeteria when it’s quiet. You can see the city, you can take a moment, it’s all out there before you.

On timing

Getting home, I just want a drink. I’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 wasn’t lugging this bag (with laptop) around, I would’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 wasn’t a long day, but now, it feels it.


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