March 15, 2006

Some Random Neurons Firing in New York

This blog is generally PG, so I warn you, if you are my fourteen year old nephew, that this entry contains A Very Bad Word or two. I am QUOTING, so I have no choice. I know that if you are my fourteen year old nephew, that you NEVER hear A Very Bad Words like this in high school, so, I beg you to avert your eyes lest your young and tender mind be compromised...

* My son is nine now. A manling. Looks just like his dad, but I know he is my kid because when his teacher gave out spelling homework and the top question was, "List five words that rhyme with PAY," his first response was to look up and say, "How do you spell 'Cliche?'"

* I, the girl who wants to have a GPS chip implanted in her head to help her navigate to her own bathroom, have a strange and purely intuitive understanding of Public Transportation. London Tube or NYC Subway, hand me a metropass/token and a map, and I. Can. Get. You. Anywhere. It is SPOOKY, because ABOVE ground, I can't find my own butt. I spin like a dog chasing its tail and say, "I know my butt is back here somewhere...maybe I should have taken that hard left by my hipbone..."

* My dad and my husband are at home with my children...I asked Scott how Maisy was doing, and he said she is having trouble dragging her little finger around, what with my 170 pound father wound so completely around it.

* Yesterday, mom and I girded our loins, showed our passports, and crossed the boundary from Mahattan into Brooklyn. Some observations:

1) Brooklyn must have had a VERY long bleak and boring winter, because everyone has a brand new baby there.

2) Just like in Manhattan, the Brooklyn New Yorkers freaking LIVE to help tourists. Using my intuitive superpowers, I had the subways down cold, but as we zoomed around Brooklyn, New Yorker after New Yorker saw our piles of guidebooks and maps and INSISTED on helping us. One pretty young woman told us to imprint on her like ducklings---she was heading to our same spot and would show us where to transfer. On the second train, safely transferred, a wiry man with a dangerous (and oddly sexy) chipped tooth looked at me and Mom as we stood trying to pick a place to eat once we got back to Little Italy, and he insinuated himself in between us and began telling us exactly what we should do and see. Then he got a little FLUSHED with pleasure at his own helpfulness and put his face 6 inches from my mother's face. "MAN! I BET YOU DIDN'T YOU THINK NEW YORKERS WERE LIKE THIS, RIGHT? I BET YOU THOUGHT WE WERE ASSHOLES HUH? KINDA SCARY AND SHIT? BOOGA BOOGA AND SHIT?" he squawked, mildly terrifying us for the first time all day.

3) Just so you know? If you want to go to the Brooklyn Musuem---and they have a LOT of Rodin there, so you do--- all you have to do is march a mile down to the correct subway and then take 2 different trains and hike up from the Union War Memorial, passing through the GORGOEUS Litchfield House, all the way THROUGH Prospect Park, stopping at the Brooklyn Library to confirmthat yes, they DO have a copy of your book HEEHEE, and then eventually, say, three blisters later, you will come to a sign that tells you the Brooklyn Museum is actually CLOSED on Tuesdays. Heh.

4) We got lost immediately coming back from the closed musuem to the subway, I walked toward a little herd of young teenage boys who had big 70's inspired 'fros and their pants falling off, frontin' like playa-playas outside the MoJo Cafe. The second my mother and I approached, they snapped to and became smiley and 95% less slouchy. They called us Ma'am. When it became obvious that we were hopeless, one of them popped open his cell phone and gave us the number of a Brooklyn Cab Co. They were SO cute. BROOKLYN is so cute. I could completely see myself living in BROOKLYN, a feeling I have NEVER had while marching through Manhattan in the most painful shoes I can find. Breathing Manhattan air is a heddy, giddy thing to me, still, and something about being in the middle of the city I feel like Alice in Cooler-Than-You-Land, excited and interested and looky-aroundy, but certainly not a PART of it. I get a publishing industry contact high---this is our country's BOOKLAND, making the bg decisions about what the world will be reading, and since writing is my passion and my livlihood and reading is my drug of choice, I'm awestruck by it. It is also the place that ties with London for "Best Theatre in the Known Universe," and that's my second drug of choice...It's too much like Disneyland for Grown-ups to me to be RELAXING. BROOKLYN felt...homey.

5) We walked back to Manhattan at sunset, over the Brooklyn Bridge. If you ever go to New York, you have to do this. The skyline was so lovely, the Statue of Liberty standing in the harbor with the sky glowing orange behind her. I have to admit, my wizened raisin of a heart twitched and pulsed into life and I stopped for a minute to breathe in and simply love the living hell out of New York. I got teary looking at the space where the twin towers damn well ought to be, and had to turn my eyes back to the statue who stood facing way from the city, looking out over the water with her arm raised up in welcome.

Posted by joshilyn at March 15, 2006 9:03 AM

First, did you check your wallets after all of your "help" had walked away? That, unfortuneatly is my first thought as a jaded yankee. My second is that, it must have been your accent. Maybe I should only speak for myself but those southern accents just make a person seem sweet as pie and while I enjoy being an obnoxious a-hole to other obnoxious a-holes, I just wouldn't be able to do it to a (young and sexy) Aunt Bea sound-alike.

Last thought, I hate when they close places on random weekdays. Why would a person check to see if a museum is closed on a Tuesday?

I hope you keep having a great time!

Posted by: Em at March 15, 2006 9:37 AM

I utterly heart New York with a grand and fiery passion. I, too, found when I was there that it was chock full of helpful, lovely people. Of course, it soon became all too clear that someone must have put a sign on our backs that said "Talk to these white will crack up", because it seemed that all we had to do was BREATHE where someone could hear us and folks were saying, "Ohhhhhhh are you from the South? Say "y'all"! How cute!"

Posted by: Angela at March 15, 2006 10:32 AM

Oh, I envy you being there, and I envy "there" getting to hang out with you!

I hope you have a wonderful wonderful continuing time in the town-of-my-birth... sigh.................

Posted by: Cornelia Read at March 15, 2006 10:58 AM

So. Jealous.

Have a wonderful time, Tulip! Can't wait to hear about the rest!

Posted by: Mir at March 15, 2006 11:01 AM

Museums always seem to be closed when I go looking for them too. But your trip sounds wonderful - is it tax deductible?

Posted by: Cele at March 15, 2006 11:38 AM

This goes down as one of your best blog posts EVER, in my humble yet experienced-reading-your-blog opinion. I want to marry New York, and yet I've never even met him (or her?).

Posted by: Cathy at March 15, 2006 12:15 PM

You have why I love Manhattan and Brooklyn down PAT!

Posted by: Katie at March 15, 2006 12:50 PM

I think we are soulmates ... at least in the area of public transport. I have the same thing with being clueless above ground but a whiz at finding my way around underground. I genuinely love subways ... and subway maps ...I still have a poster of the Toronto subway system, circa 1990, on my rec room wall because I have such happy memories of it.

And I LOVE Brooklyn! Went there two years ago to do research for a book and totally fell in love. Although, I didn't find people as helpful as you did ... maybe I should have tried a southern accent.

Posted by: Trudy at March 15, 2006 2:06 PM

I wish I couldn't find my own butt. Ummmmm, was that one of the "bad" words? Butt?

Posted by: Edgy Mama at March 15, 2006 5:24 PM

I miss my days of traveling to NY for business -- enjoying the city on someone else's dime! The one thing I always wanted to do but never had the chance was to buy a cheap, obviously fake (or ill-gotten-booty?) Rolex from a shifty-lookin' street dude. I'm not even sure you can find those opportunities anymore. Have much fun; enjoy the world's best martinis and go spin the theater wheel of fortune at TKTS in Times Square!

Posted by: bj at March 15, 2006 7:26 PM

wouah I'm so Jealous, I wish I could go right now to New York! By the way, sitting at my desk in Switzerland, I love to read your blog...It makes me travel all the way to America! I love it!

Posted by: Marie at March 16, 2006 4:55 AM

Hi. I found your site through someone else's link on Blogging For Books. I'm not sure if I'm going to enter, but I had to post after reading your blog entry about Brooklyn, my home. Isn't it amazing? It's got a bit of small town feel, right in the big city. Plenty of Access to the mecca that is Manhattan with a charm and suburban unlike any other. Brooklyn is comprised of dozens of neighborhoods, each with its own name and ethnic diversity. Although I've traveled extensively, I've lived here all my life and have found no place to compare with its charm. I met and fell in love with a wonderful man from Salt Lake City, Utah, and he has come to love Brooklyn as I do, so here we are. Almost every nationality in the world is represented here and it makes for a fascinating life. I look forward to reading more of your blog, and your work. Feel free to check me out online at
Feel free to email me if you have any Brooklyn related questions (there's that helpful Brooklynite factor). LOL

Posted by: Deb On The Web at March 16, 2006 5:59 PM

You captured just how I feel about New York. And about public transportation. It's a family joke that I have no sense of direction, and yet I can navigate the heck out of public transport systems in NY, London, San Francisco--wherever. Even my very first day there.

Maybe I'm just passive-aggresively protesting the Car Culture; who knows.

Oh, New York, I miss it so. Blow a kiss to it all for me, please.

Posted by: elswhere at March 17, 2006 7:57 PM

Vrey nicely done! I'm new to Brooklyn, and you definitely captured the ambience -- especially with your recommendation of the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Posted by: chidder at March 17, 2006 10:06 PM

Yes, I've done the sunset walk over the Brooklyn Bridge! You're right, you must! The history fills you and you do get teary. I think about Walt Whitman crossing on the ferry into New York. I think of George Washington in the fog escaping from the British. I think of Roebling who on the ferry in the thick of East River ice looked up and said...hmmm...I think there should be a bridge here. I think of Sophie and Stingo running across and Kevin Kline looking perfectly perfect. Oh, my, my, my...I'm jealous of you.

Posted by: Waylon at March 19, 2006 10:36 AM