Tag Archives: west village

Following the Story Since it Broke

The snowstorm may have hit yesterday, but the eye of the storm came last night, when my sister met me in the emergency room at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

“Are you O.K.,” she asked me. I’ve had a weird stomach pain that I initially thought would end with that awful stomach bug that’s been going around. But after the bug, the pain remained for a week. Fed up, I figured I’d cut to the chase, go (doubled-over in pain) to the hospital and either be discharged in time to grab some sleep and head to work or admitted for appendicitis. After looking me up and down and diagnosing me with “a paler shade than your typical pale,” my sister plopped down on the bench next to me and turning her eyes to the corner-mounted TV. “Oh, thank god they have The Bachelor on,” she announced. We had enough time to catch the fact that the Bachelor still had feelings for the girl he turned down, but then my name was called and we were brought back to emergency triage.

Ladies and Gentleman: Welcome to the Bowels of emergency_room_3Hell late night comedy hour courtesy of the ER nurses, doctors and the local drunks and homeless. Seven hours can pass relatively quickly when you have a a three-ring stand-up show going on around you.

First, it was a homeless man who smelled so extraordinarily badly of feet that the ER nurse kept spraying the room with a disinfectant to cut the smell. When that wore off, security stepped in. “What the hell’s that smell?” they asked. The nurse explained and added that he had given the man his discharge papers, but that he was currently burning up the lines of the courtesy hospital cell phone calling everyone he knew. Essentially using the curtained-off bed as his personal phone booth. Security gave him the boot and the smell went with him.

While we waited to see who came in next, my sister apparently got a job working at the hospital. My curtain area also housed the supply of bed linens and paper bags in which to store a patient’s clothing. My sister sat conveniently next to the linen cart. Nurses and EMS workers stopped by and asked her to please hand them a few linens and a bag. This continued for the entire duration of our stay. My sister never missed a beat. “How many would you like,” she asked them. “Do you need a bag with that.” Or, “Let me go into my closet and check my supply level.” The ER staff came and asked her first, like it was, in fact, her cart. If she had turned down their request, I don’t doubt they would have just walked away, thinking my sister, in her black knit poncho and leggings with her Pocahontas braids and black rubber Wellies, had the final say in the matter of the bed linens.

Next up in our comedy ring was a seriously drunk guy, who announced his arrival with: “Am I going to die?”
“No sir,” the nurse replied, “you just broke your hand.” The drunk started to cry. “So am I going to die,” he questioned again. The doctor answered this time, “well, we all die, sir. But not today. You’re in good hands with me.” Then, without missing a beat, the doctor added, “Except I just went off duty.”

As the sister and I cracked up, we saw the drunk’s nurses whispering to each other, consulting. Then, they asked him: “Sir, do you have hair plugs?”
“I don’t know,” answered the drunk, crying.
“Sir, this is important. We need to know if you have hair plugs in case you need brain surgery.”
“Yes,” he replied, weakly.

The drunk left for a while, later returning a little more sober, but not quite. “Why is my hand like this,” he asked the nurse. The nurse replied back that it had been broken when the drunk fell down the stairs. “Oh,” he said, as he proceeded to kiss his hand several times to make it better.

The later it got, the more scary the characters. Finally, when we hit on a violent, homeless (but fur-clad) psych patient, I told my sister to go home. “Are you kidding,” she exclaimed, gesturing over to our hand-kissing drunk who had proceeded to call everyone of his iPhone contacts at 3am to let them know he was in the hospital. “I want to see what happens. I’ve been following that story since it broke.” She smiled at me with a glimmer in her eye. “Haha.”


New York Moments

This is one of those posts where I’ll admit nothing much as happened outside of work and sleep. Between the day job and looming writing deadlines, I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment (though THRILLED the money’s coming in and making its way into my savings account). But, I have managed to sneak some fun in.

Last week found me at a book party hosted by the son of the 99th richest person in the world. The book party was for a client of mine and I was thrilled at the opportunity to toast her writing semple-cover-image-w-text2achievement on this coast. I didn’t actually think I’d know anyone at the party, but ended up knowing a bunch of film/television people, writers and even the bartender! The brownstone was, of course, awesome, but it was the artwork and photography that really thrilled me. From Brillo Boxes and an Elvis Warhol (or is that Warhol Elvis?) to Maira Kalman, Karl Lagerfeld and Man Ray, Weegee, Diane Arbus and Elizabeth Peyton. Gorgeous stuff, thoughtfully placed and still managed to make the place feel like a home and not a gallery of over-sized fancy art. A fun night with an eclectic group of uptowners, downtowners and Aspen-ers.

Today was a little more low-key as I headed up to B’way and 95th to check out a friend’s newly purchased apartment, a beautiful penthouse with terraces and tons of light. We spent the afternoon105753 making a late breakfast and catching up, while her boyfriend played DJ for us with his iPod. Then, I headed down to the Lincoln Center area to cash in a gift card for a massage (lovely!) After an hour of total bliss, I was asked if I wanted a courtesy shampoo and blow dry in their new salon. Umm, YES, please! As I headed out of the spa and to the subway, a light snow began to fall and for a single moment, I felt completely calm and at peace and simply happy to be exactly where I was. All of the chaos of New York fell away … until an Evangelical Christian and his associate interrupted my moment and attempted to preach “the word of God” to me. From bliss to religious salvation in less than a block. Only in New York.

Now back to the grind.


City Sidewalks and Childhood Dreams

Living downtown, I have seasonal walking routes. In the dead of winter I like to walk by storefronts to window shop and because I know they will be shoveled and salted to near perfection. In the spring, I’ll take any route that has me walking by the Chelsea flower market. Even when it’s still early spring, it’s nice to smell and see the promise of summer in all of the beautiful flowers and small trees. Summer brings me back to the storefronts, hoping I’ll time my passing correctly with that of a customer entering/leaving the store — a cold blast of air-conditioned air hits the spot during a humid day. But my favorite walk has to be past the Bleecker Street Playground. A decently-sized island of childhood bliss, the park boasts sandboxes, swings, playground equipment and, sprinklers!!! The playground’s happy hour is right after the 3:00 school bell. Moms, nannies, babysitters and (more & more) Dads stand around and chat pleasantly with other parents while their children play at complicated imaginary games.

As a 20-something with no immediate thoughts of motherhood, you would think the idea of passing a gaggle of post-school children would irritate me, interfering with the music coming from my iPod, but the writer in me takes over as I watch them play and I’m fascinated by what they create. Their imaginations are so strong and their visual sense so acute, I think they might make better authors of fiction than their adult counterparts — if not for nap times interfering with their workday.

Walking by the playground is a bit like listening to a pit orchestra warming up before a show. A few high squeaks, low moans and whines, and the clank of the wrought iron gate greeting the latest entrants into the park. The sense of electricity and excitement cannot be denied. Bleecker Street playground has a particular smell to it as well. Unlike the flowers that dot the nearby corner market, the park yields the sweet scent of child perspiration, the fragrant green leaf and bark mix of trees, and the light spritz of NYC water mixed with a rusty odor from the hundred-year-old pipes.

Chaos ensues when Mr. Softee pulls up alongside the curb. Children screech with delight — so excited are they to see the promise of sugar, that they run, wet from the sprinklers and shoe-less, onto the city sidewalk (I have to admit it makes me squeamish to think of all the germs their innocent little feet are picking up). But no matter, these children are oblivious to grit and grime and focused on how to get their adult in charge to fork over ice cream money. You can aways tell the parents from the nannies: parents carry wholesome snacks, while the nannies have already attempted feeding their charges the health food, only to be denied. Ice cream offers those caretakers the promise of ending their day without anymore (ahem) meltdowns.

While passing the park gives me joy, it’s also mixed with a little bit of melancholy. Because after all, who doesn’t want to be that young again? If not for just one afternoon.


Bright Lights, Small City

There are days when New York feels less like a city and more like a small town. Granted, we both live in neighborhoods, on streets and in buildings, so that small town quality is already quite evident if you tend to stay in a ten block radius of your apartment. I also tend to stay away from areas that are inhabited by people I don’t particularly like. For instance, I avoid going over to 19th and Broadway. If I have to hit up ABC Carpet or Fishs Eddy, I do it during a week day, when I have less of a chance of running into the person I hate who lives on 18th and Broadway. Hopefully, she’s at her day job. I saw her once, while making the mistake of walking down Broadway to return home, but luckily, the “Walk” sign flashed and I crossed the street, managing to avoid her.

I try to avoid the Columbus Circle Whole Foods, as I once ran into a guy I went on a date with, whose nickname was “Wolfman.” And though he was a decent-seeming guy, I spent a large part of the date trying to avoid staring at his excessive amount of arm hair, which made it look like his watch was drowning. Ironically, I saw him in the produce section, where we was checking out the fuzzy-skinned peaches. To add insult to injury, I wasn’t wearing any make-up. I still can’t decide what was worse, seeing a guy you never called back or seeing him on a Sunday afternoon makeup-less, a little hungover and sniffing the flat parsley (just to make sure it wasn’t in fact, cilantro). I had forgotten he lived in that neighborhood, so it remained on my “places to avoid” list for six months.

But it still throws me for a loop when I see people walking in my neighborhood who shouldn’t be there. Today, I was walking down Greenwich Street, headed to Tea & Sympathy to meet an old high school friend I hadn’t seen in nine years. A half-block away from my destination, I ran into my old screenwriting partner from college, who now lives in Los Angeles. I hadn’t seen her in five years. She just happened to be in town for a bridal shower this weekend. While waiting outside the restaurant, a woman walked by me pushing her baby stroller. It was my old college RA, who just moved from Portland, ME to the UWS and was bringing her new son, Owen, for a stroll downtown. Then, I had the requisite celebrity encounter when Kiefer Sutherland showed up for teatime and a fan asked if I wouldn’t mind taking a picture of him with Mr. Sutherland. Click.

After tea, I had to head over to Kate’s Paperie to replenish my stationery. I was too late, the store had just closed. Another woman joined in my dismay as she walked up to the door. When we turned to each other to remark on our “luck,” we realized simultaneously that we knew each other, having worked together five years ago, before she moved back to London. Turns she’s in town for a temporary job with the Tribeca Film Festival. After a brief catch up session, we parted ways.

Walking back home, I was now on the lookout for other people I knew, expecting them to appear around every corner. I sometimes mind the small town atmosphere that comes with living in New York, but at least today I was prepared, I was wearing make-up.