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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

In the Footsteps of Kramer Perhaps

We had made it to the location of the devastating catastrophe 9-11. It seemed that there was this huge gap in the sky when you looked up for you could actually see buildings many blocks away, which was strange for Manhattan. Perhaps the neatest thing was on the site of Ground Zero the only thing left standing from the twin towers was the structure of a cross made from the intersection of two beams. After that we went to St. Paul’s Chapel less than a block away. This is the site of one of New York’s oldest churches still standing and the site of NYC’s hospitality and concern reaching out during 9-11. It was as though two periods in history converged and met into one brilliant testimony and symbol. The neatest thing here, I thought, was the same footstool that George Washington had kneeled to pray on, was the same footstool that the construction crew members during the terrorist raid would receive foot massages from working 15 hour shifts digging through the rubble of the towers.
Then we found ourselves trudging down Wall Street. Earlier that day, I had thrown away my old shoes and bought new ones, for my feet where killing me, and those old ones were falling apart. We also had seen the Statue of Liberty from a distance and then we decided to go get our bags from the library. For you see, the day before we just decided to leave our bags there over night. We had asked the security guard what would happen if we “accidentally” left our bags there. She said nothing. We could just get them the next day. Then we immediately had the idea to get just the essentials for the night and then recheck our bags in the next cloakroom on the other side of the library. They would never know of our plans to remain free and burdenless.
Well that afternoon we walk in there and then we come to find out that the NYCPL had confiscated our bags. They had taken them below into the depths of the NYCPL security room. Just then the chief of the security approached us and seemed to be very upset in a New York sort of way. She chastised us for leaving the building yesterday and “forgetting” that our bags were still there. She got on her walky-talky and said a few code words and numbers that I couldn’t decipher and then she said very sternly, “Follow Me”.
Ryan and I followed her very worried about this turn of events. We went through what seemed to be mazes down below in old halls where no regular civilians were allowed. Well, if you have read any of my past blog entries you will know that I happen to specialize in library espionage and at coaxing the nerves of many a librarian. So, I began to do my stuff. “So this is the same library where Ghostbusters was filmed, right?” “Why, yes, it is.” She responded changing her tone and surprised about my appeal to her workplace. She then asked if we had seen the main library hall. Ryan piped up that we had. Then we got to the security dungeon, and the room was filled with their agents yelling at us that we were in so much trouble. As they berated us for our forgetfulness, I finally broke down, “Okay, okay…you’ve got me. I’ve had overdue books before.” They erupted in laughter. It was a way to end on a humorous note, I’m just glad that I didn’t spill the beans about my slumber party in the library. Who knows what torture rack they have set aside for such vagrants. We grabbed our bags being certain that they had searched them and knew that I preferred boxers to briefs. Then we set off relieved back into the streets of Manhattan.
We at first wanted to see about catching a Yankee’s game that night. But it was cold, wet and drizzling, so we opted on a Broadway show. Before, we thought it was impossible to get into a Broadway show, being on the tight budget we were on. Then we began to go from theatre to theatre an hour or two before showtime to see what seating they had available. And luckily, our 3rd theatre was a success. We got in to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for a fourth of the original price. To be honest, I had heard people talk about Broadway and say that it is a must see on a visit to New York, but I really sort of pushed aside their advice. But now I can truly say that it is all worth it. It seems to me that New York City is a rough, tough, gritty city with crime, shams, fronts, and exposure to the cynicism of life. To live in NYC one must be pragmatic, distrustful, and skeptical. But there is this gold streak that runs through the heart of the city. It’s where people leave the cold hardened city streets and step into a completely different world where everything magical and wonderful takes place. Every event is met with song. It is there among the parted curtains that the power of belief is met, where the triumph of love is seen, where the beauty of dreams are celebrated. For a short moment in time, when the magic of the stage erupts, the people of the concrete, are transformed into believing children. And for just one brief moment, life is a song, fate is kind, and the end is joyous resolution. Life is no longer how our eyes saw it that day, but how we instinctively believed that it should and might one day actually be. Then with applause, a final laugh, a wiped tear, we leave our seats and push through the streets again with the faint murmuring of some subtle song playing in our heads of some magical realm that our hearts seek for, wondering if such a place ever exists.
Ryan and I only stepped out of the theatre to be apprehended by this guy who looked decent enough but he seemed to be too amicable to for NYC and therefore we began to distrust him. He took us to this pizzeria on Broadway and got us some sort of discount. Then, I looked at him point blank and asked him what he wanted. He sounded offended and said that he was just doing a nice deed. Who knows what he was after? He walked off either truly after nothing or realizing that we weren’t letting our guard down.
Then we had an incident in the train station. Ryan had brought his camcorder and we thought to bust it out and interview some one about NY. We saw this short looking oriental police officer in the train station and we thought he was a prime candidate for such an interview. So we approached him Ryan with his camera on, and myself with an imaginary microphone and I said, “Hey, could we ask you a few questions?” The cop just glared this ugly glare, shooting me with his slanted eyes, and not saying a word. To break the awkward silence, I said, “So what do you love about New York?” Then the cop got angry and started to whip out his ticket book and saying that he should write us a citation and confiscate our camera. We immediately responded that we were just ignorant tourists and that we were sorry (for who knows what) so we said all this while trying to escape. We escaped barely and that put us on a damper about the whole camera business.
Then we were to catch a bus that night to Canada, but this proved much harder than we had ever believed it to be. I’ll detail all these events later.


Blogger Jovan said...

I can't wait to hear about what happens next.

9:18 PM  

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