This morning, as I waited for the library to open. I did my share of people watching. As I perused the steady flow of commuters, panhandlers and tourists. I became somewhat fixated on the amount of people stopping to take pictures in front of the library. Having lived just blocks away in Hell’s Kitchen for years. Places like Times Square, 5th Avenue and even the storied 42nd st. were areas I avoided at all costs. I guess seeing these things on a daily basis for close to ten years can take some of the glimmer out of things. Until this day, the mere thought of going anywhere near Times Square sends douche chills to places I didn’t know existed. With about a half hours wait left before the 10:00 am opening. I noticed a pretty young lady approach the library. Armed with a backpack and a fully armed selfie stick. She proceeded to spend the next thirty minutes taking pictures of herself. Not the architecture, the city she came to visit or even the bum who lay within feet of her fancy sandal. Herself!
Later on, as I was roaming the halls. I saw that same girl walking in front of me. Slowly cruising the same corridors as yours truely. You would think any traveler would stop to take in the countless years of history and culture. The colors and texture of a living landmark. Instead, her slowed pace was to properly analyze the half hour or so of diligent self preservation. Now I would never go as far as saying I hate these kind of people. I wouldn’t even say I feel sorry for them. The truth is, it bothers me… and for the life of me, I will never understand or relate to them. Where are we going from here? I don’t know.
I tend to cringe whenever someone brings up Times Square. The place is crowded, congested and littered with tourists. Walking there is like walking through a mine field. Thousands of tourists walking at a snails pace enamored by the glittering lights. Getting around them is virtually impossible considering how much space is taken up by vendors selling their counterfeit bags, glasses and other crap. Walking on the street is an option if you don’t mind getting run down by a cab, bicyclist or rickshaw. It’s a true exercise in frustration. It’s also a right of passage and an everyday routine for most New Yorkers. Last night on the news they spoke about a new plan to detour traffic or at least motor vehicles from the Times Square area. Opening up the streets to human traffic and giving people a little breathing room. Being that there was another street fair and some newly acquired elbow room we headed over to see what was up. The weather was perfect. The usual combination of tourists, theatre goers, locals and oddballs were out and about. I lived a few blocks over in Hell’s Kitchen for eight years. Although the area and particularly Times Square bare little resemblance to the old. It still feels good to get back to the West Side. The Navy was in town. The Naked Cowboy was well “almost naked” We made our way up to Central Park and over to Lincoln Center before we headed back. As always hunger found it’s way to our belly’s and we decided on “the Carnegie Deli”. In the past I had always seen these classic deli’s on the food network and featured in various shows but thought “who could eat that much?” Seriously, how can anyone wrap their mouth around a sandwich that huge and live? Well, since conquering Katz’s deli on the Lower East Side years back I realized I could conquer any sandwich. I’ll say this, Carnegie is good but Kat’z has them beat by a mile as far as taste and overall experience is concerned. It was good but I am staying loyal to my old favorite. Let the tourists eat there. Exhausted and with our bellies full we headed home. I met some nice people. Ate some good food and got some good pictures. All within an ear shot of home.