I take the express in the mornings. Eleven stops, but only the two last hop neighborhoods, the Financial District to 14th to Herald Square, twenty blocks in a gulp. This was a city center once, when these Midtown intersections and parks were named for rival newspaper publishers and within a year the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings topped out with spires to beat the band and scrape the sky.
The year before that, this landmark 1929 Deco hotel was built with 43 stories - the most rooms in the city, they said. A few years later Nikola Tesla would move in to stay for a decade and feed pigeons while all manner of shenanigans took place in the jazz club, branch of a financial institution, the tiled underground tunnel that leads directly here from Penn Station, the connections made from the murmurs of 92 ‘telephone girls.’
I walk from the train and pass construction workers on ledges with hard hats balancing food from halal carts and empanada stands under garish flashing signs for movies (and more often video games) near the buzzing, luminous neon luring tourists into the corner diner.
Almost-but-not-really updated out of its fade, I walk in and down the Interwar lobby, under the grand chandelier, and toward the elevator bank split between higher guest floor service and the brass doors that only slide open for lower levels: mostly 4 and 5 for conventioneers, 9 for residents. I take the local. Around me, couples search the numerical grid in awkward silence for the nonexistent buttons to their rooms on upper floors.
They will ride back to the lobby as I swipe into a quiet office suite down the hall from a children’s modeling agency. The young talent preens as they enter and leave. We just traded our line of desks on the noisy newsroom mezzanine for this shared floor, the better to work closely in a small space inside this large building on a quadrant of the city grid that has always been known for turning sharp copy, and where many things are happening all at the same time. We’ll take the local.
A few more days
A final Hi meeting
The local neighborhood bar has a quiet time between six and nine. It is a place that specializes in coffee, beer and seasonal menus. There is just enough of each for a satisfying snack and effective buzz. After the time when the laptop lids close and before the social gatherings start -- there is a sort of twilight*. Often this time is a fugitive ground rife with creative inspiration and meditative work -- of the kind that results in personal reward.*twilight may refer to civil, nautical or astronomical variety depending on your social or terrestrial condition
A man positions his mouse on the edge of his browser window. He clicks, holds and drags the viewport first left then right. The content of a video game promo micro site responds and adapts to the available space. To the man, this is more delightful than the game itself.
A man laboriously moves his piano down three levels onto the subway platform. Classic vocals and strided chords -- he played so well I swore he was blind. Oblivious to the heat on that August stage, he was most in touch with his audience -- whom he elevated with his music.
A woman should do exactly as she pleases no matter what a man may think.
As the Dalai Lama once said, "It is a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room."
"No one understands me," she said. Her grandmother was silent for a minute. It seemed she was searching for an answer in the star speckled sky. "But no one understands anyone in this world, darling. We are all unique. It is what gives us a sense of wonder."