Tag Archives: starbucks

It’s Always Something

The 11 year old and I headed to the Washington Heights Armory late this afternoon to watch a high school track meet img_3533 in which the 14 year old did her thing.

It’s a quick ride north to 168th Street on the No. 1 train during which the 11 year old noted that everyone in the subway spoke Spanish. Everyone but the two of us, of course, which is only fodder for the school kid to continue his language studies. He proceeded to conjugate ir/to go for me and told me how to say 168th Street in Spanish. In less than 20 minutes, we arrived at the designated subway station, with it’s high ceilings, globe lanterns img_3517, wall mounted lighting, AND an overpass (rather than the underpass to traverse the tracks, all of which looked quite different from midtown and downtown stations. One of the highlights as we headed toward the station exit was an obligatory elevator ride up to ground level. An “operator” sat on a stool nestled behind a yellow barricade of sorts while he pushed buttons. He played a recording of latin music for our listening enjoyment. No head phones, the real deal.

Once above ground, it’s hard not to notice NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center as it covers most of the surrounding blocks. Historically, Washington Heights was a refuge for eastern European Jews and for all I know, my paternal grandparents lived there before they “made it” in the garment industry and moved to Lawrence, NY. I’ll never know since there’s no one around to ask… Today, it’s said to have a heavy concentration of Dominicans but a Starbucks on a corner overshadowed any obvious ethnicity. Of course, our mission was to find The Armory, an indoor track and field situation for high schoolers. Who knew? The 100 year old building charged $5 for spectator admission but it was well worth the price to see the interior and cheer for the home team. When I asked the 11 year old, if he was enjoying our adventure north, he replied “every minute of it,” and smiled sincerely. It helped that his school had athletes racing in the boys’ heats.

Legwork complete, we headed homeward. Again, though in reverse, it was easy to ride the No. 1 train south from 168th street. We hopped off at Columbus Circle to catch the No. 5 bus across town. During the transfer, a series of police cars lined the circle, in formation, img_3542 red lights flashing. The officers informed us that “occasionally they are stationed at random points for surveillance.” Sure. Whatever. The bus came, we rode across town in time to see Bergdorf Goodman’s creepy holiday window decorations img_3553 being dismantled. The snowflake twinkling above the intersection of 57th Street on Fifth Avenue, however, still shines bright, img_35472 as a reminder of UNICEF’s efforts to help save, protect and improve the lives of children around the world through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. There’s so much to be done…

Wonderful Town

This sweltering Sunday found me in the middle of Times Square with my three favorite musical theater hopefuls checking out our fellow college alumni perform for Broadway on Broadway. If you’re a cheap New Yorker (like me) this is the perfect way to get a taste of the upcoming — and current — Broadway shows for free as they hit a stage set up in Times Square and perform a song. We stood surrounded by our fellow New Yorkers and tourists listening to performances from Billy Elliot and Gypsy to Avenue Q, [title of show], In the Heights, Xanadu, and saw our friends rock their roles in Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid and Legally Blonde.

B’way on B’way was hot, and I mean that in the literal sense. As soon as our last friend-related performance ended, we headed out in search of an air conditioned cafe. I split with my friends and made a pit stop at the bank where I was subsequently locked inside the ATM facility for 15 minutes with another bank patron. As we were banging on the glass to get ANYONE’s attention, I felt a sting on my arm and saw a bee drop to the floor. I’m not allergic to bees to the point where I need to carry an epi-pen, but am allergic enough that my arm immediately began to swell to the size of an egg. Luckily a passing police officer saw our distress, swiped his ATM card, and released the door, setting us free. Hot, tired from the sun and slightly paniking about the ever-growing size of the egg on my arm, I hailed a cab home (not before grabbing an iced coffee from Starbucks first, which they gave me for free!)

Sitting here now freshly showered, minus one bee’s stinger, I realized my day was helped along by various New Yorkers: the B’way on B’way staff that lead us to our special “artists’ guest” area, the performers, the man in blue and his ATM card, the Starbucks barista and even my sympathetic cab driver, who waited in front of the grocery store (with the meter off) while I grabbed some miso paste for my sting — an old trick for decreasing swelling. For all the times this city tears us apart, swallows us whole and spits us out, it truly is our fellow New Yorkers that make Manhattan a wonderful town.

-Downtown

Down the Toilet

New York City apartments. We put up with a lot of things about them. The price, the size, the lack of closet space, their walking distance to public transportation, and sometimes even the proximity to the actual city itself (hello to our Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens readers!) but I am soooo tired of putting up with my plumbing. As earlier posts attest, I have some issues with the pipes in my bathroom ceiling. Those issues didn’t go away. Not the first time, not the second or third time and definitely not this time. Overnight, I went from having a nice, flat ceiling, to one that was swollen like the belly of a woman who is seven months pregnant. In came the Super and his workers to “fix” the problem, and out I went to try and find a place to make deadlines and conference calls. This was fine for a day, but when I went home and saw my bathroom was literally a pile of rubble, back out I went. Except this time, I went out of town for a few days to work and enjoy working bathrooms (thanks, mom and dad!).

But that was last week. Now it’s Tuesday and the work is finally wrapping up. I spent today ducking in-and-out of Starbucks to use their bathroom — not once purchasing any coffee. My daytime roommates who are inhabiting my bathroom to repair the damage don’t know that though my conversational Spanish isn’t great, I can still understand what they say when they talk about me. Their discussion went something like this (my translations are rough, to say the least):

Short worker guy: ¿cuál es su trabajo?

Mustachioed worker: No creo que tiene un trabajo.

Short worker: Deseo que no tuviera que trabajar.

Mustachioed worker: Si no trabajara, miraría la televisión de los deportes.

The next time the mustachioed one passed through my living room/office, I was on YouTube, watching a short video about Rwandan relief efforts. I saw him sneak at glance over at my monitor. Sure enough, my movements were reported to his vertically-challenged friend:

“Mira la televisión en su computadora.”

“Ohhh.”

After my “work police” left, I spent the evening cleaning up after them, vacumming, wiping the film of dry plaster off my floors, cleaning my toilet and then my whole bathroom. All I could think about while doing this were my repairmen saying:

“Quizás es una señorita de la limpieza.”

“Ohhh.”

-Downtown