In my ongoing effort which began in August 2007 when I visited seven yoga studios in seven days which culminated in the all-too-
appropriate crazy encounter with a carpool mom wearing a f@%* yoga t-shirt, after a two-month hiatus, I hit the mat again on Saturday at the Barnard student’s encouragement. She’d asked the 14-yr old and me to join her at noon on St. Mark’s Place for a yoga class.
In an effort to model healthy behavior, I tried to drag the 14-yr old to no avail but hauled myself downtown. With light snow falling on what was an exceptionally gray morning, I hopped the 6 train s to st marks place. Immediately upon exiting the subway station at Astor Place, memories of my past boiled up. I get a kick out of city travel to points known and not. On this day, I vaguely recognized my whereabouts. Mind you, this isn’t always the case. Many times I look skyward trying to orient myself according to the location of the Empire State Building but without it in sight on the particular morning i spotted the hideous kinetic cube sculpture to my immediate east, the Cooper Union Foundation Building and the all too familiar St. Mark’s Place just footsteps away.
The Yoga Studio is in a walkup. I followed nubile 20-somethings and trudged skyward along an old stairwell with a thick wooden and pin-wheel patterned iron work banister. There were three vertical studios. I entered one that was only beginning to fill up, strategically placed my mat in the front of the room close enough to see the instructor and directly in front of the near floor to ceiling windows that exposed us to the elements and surrounding brick building’s rooftops. Beautiful, fresh young faces and bodies from front of the room to the back, I was in heaven. Mind you, I brought the average age of the room up by no less than ten years but I told myself a. I’d be able to keep up with them and b. how lucky are these young, nubile bodies and minds to have yoga in their lives. I caught the wave in my late 20’s in Brentwood, CA. At the time, my east coast friends thought I’d drunk the southern ca koolaid. Little did they know.
After what was an hour of soulful, sans preaching stretches, I meandered out of the creaky old building, walked south on cooper which becomes the bowery across great jones. Downtown, this is my old haunt – I was 20 something, living in what was little italy now soho. There were crack vials in the too-cool for school tenement. Drinks at jones café (we called it great jones) across from a. warhol’s factory and though those institutions are still there, i passed an all-too contemporary great jones spa!
continuing south along West to broadway, I was tempted by crate and barrel on the nw corner of Houston.
Past sneaker stores galore – again the path of my past, college years spent visiting reminiscence, eventually reaching my destination, dean and deluca, the downtown version of eli’s.
I picked up salad fixin’s, choice of oils – 25-65$ range so that the budding chef can make dressing for the Park Avenue uncle would be joining us for dinner.
Loaded with 2 lge grocery bags, r train (yellow up to 5th ave) subway station with artists, young creatives toting portfolios, shopping bags with baguettes popping out, I headed uptown.
Exit at 60th (love that subway station with it’s zoo animal and gingko leaf mosaics) walk n on 5th, hooked a right on 61st past the Pierre where black limos, town cars, smokers and/or party go-ers usually line the street and sidewalks. Barney’s who’s windows currently state, love yourself, as I do having filled an hour with groovy yoga, no chanting, praying gratitude to instrtuctors .
Reach 61 and mad, more cars with drivers lining the street while their peeps shop. Couldn’t help but notice the garbage picker on the corner, light skinned male in multiple layers of clothing sifting through the day’s newspapers, combining one bottled beverage with another. The light changes, eyes forward, I carry my belongings home.
Where is the love?
Past is behind me. Not quite home, yet. Namaste.