Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's Up To You, NY.

While Denise is making Mint Juleps and Keith is playing Cole Porter on the piano...

Yes, life in Jersey City can be pretty classy. It can. With the right people. But then again, EVERY place can be pretty classy with the right people. Only in New Jersey, it takes a special effort.

Wow, this place has a fascination all of its own.

If I were a crime writer I would move here and use it as setting.

If I were a psychotic serial killer I would TOTALLY move here and make a game out of picking the most infernal spots to hide a body, and there are more infernal spots than possible murder victims in New Jersey.

New Jersey totally deserves a blog all of its own. I’ve been told there are pretty parts, and there simply have to be, it calls itself “Garden State” after all. Or is this a willful misnomer? A  marketing gimmick gone bad?

I mean, they have the grandest view of Manhattan from here. It’s right over THERE, on the other side of the river, shimmering in its glory, proud and beautiful, the heart of America, and (for me, that is) the center of the world. And here is Jersey City. The twin. The dark twin. The runt, the unloved, neglected sibling, the one who made, out of sheer desperation, a total mess of his life. The homeless, dirty drinker sleeping in the dark corner of an overpass. The sulking kid lurking on the top of the stairs while his big brother is being feted by the family.

Lately the unloving parents seemed to have noticed that there is this other child and have tried to clean him up, but I get a feeling it is half-hearted, and not done with passion.

Yes, Jersey City. It seems as if it is defeated by its neighborhood to New York, as if there is no sense in making an effort, as if it knows very well it can’t compete anyway. And so it just lets itself go.

We drove down from Maine on Sunday.

Our first stop was Boston, and I love Boston. Instant love, period. Being in Boston felt like being in London, and since I adore being in London... There you go. Here is Harvard. My kid made me go there to buy him a Harvard sweatshirt. Kiddo: I got your sweater. It cost me a million bucks.

And we met Julie for lunch! Isn't she the sweetest girl? Lunch with Julie and Adam, and here are Keith and Julie, chatting away.

We passed through New Haven so I could buy the promised Yale sweater for my kid ( he is a great Gilmore Girls fan), but New Haven is not as classy as Boston is, I have to say. Still, the campus is very pretty.

The best part of this day though was getting to New York in the evening.

Going down the highway toward Lincoln Tunnel, the towers of Manhattan glittering ahead, it felt like coming home to me. My heart wanted to cry. I wanted to stand on the roof of the car and spread out my arms and shout, “I’m back! See me, I’m here!”

Yesterday, after lunch at Katz’,

And here is Denise! Yes indeed, my very own Denise, THE D-POW! With us at Katz', having Pastramis Sammie!

we just drove around a bit, cruised through the heart of Manhattan, the window down to soak in the sounds and smells, and I was the happiest girl in the world.

I want an apartment on Times Square. I want to live right there, where you can feel the heartbeat of the city and where all the theaters are. Or maybe one with a view of Lincoln Center. But I want to be there, be a part of it.

You can have the houses with a view of Manhattan, I want to be in it.

Right now it’s early morning. I’m in a brownstone house in Jersey City, across the street is a little park with a very pretty playground, lots of trees and well-manicured lawns. It could almost be Brooklyn heights, it’s that civilized and groomed. Actually, it could very well be Paris! But then again not, because there would be no lawn in the park but concrete ground. Oh well.

Upstairs, people are moving. Denise is up. She had a long overnight flight yesterday, all the way from LA to meet me. Keith has a very bad cough, and I’m going to do my darnest to talk him out of the trip to Long Island we had planned for today.

The weather has been kind so far. It is warm, but not very humid, and in fact not that very hot at all.

Today, I’m meeting my publisher again. I love her. It is a great gift, not only finding a publisher you are really, really comfortable with, but also a new friend, and one that I can hardly bear to be parted from. Some people are like that, they are treasures, and once we have found them it is hard to live without them.

It rained all night, the air is fresh and crisp, and no one dare say it's always hot and humid in NY. It's not. Not when I am here.


  1. I was born and raised in NYC, and though I live in Washington, DC, I visit very often. Still have family and friends there. Ah, yes, Katz' Deli. When I'm in NYC, I stay in place a couple of blocks away from there.

    Living in Times Square area would be a little too noisy and there are no wonderful open-all-night bodegas for one to appease a hungry tummy at weird hours of the night. Greenwich Village - my stomping ground - is better.

  2. I'm glad you are having a good time in NYC! I have a low tolerance for it, myself. I used to go for three-day weekends to see a show, see my cousin near Greenwich Village, eat at one of the delis, walk around a bit, then come home and go back to work to relax. :)

  3. Actually, I like Carnegie's better than Katz. The pastrami is better, too. But NY? Omg, it's just gorgeous.

  4. You write with such enthusiasm and passion that I want to go back there! I totally understand your description of NY being the heart beat of America. Oh and the pastrami sandwich in front of Denise!! *drools* Nothing will do to satisfy my taste buds now!!
    When you meet Buddhapuss, will you take a photo of her? It's so lovely to put faces to names and she only has a black cat symbol on twitter. Soooo glad you've found a lovely new friend. Take care and have fun Mariam.

    Love Ange xx

  5. **strikes Jersey City off her bucket list** LOL
    Sounds like a great time!! Are you getting sad now? how many people have you met in total at the end of the trip? Amazing journey! How is your scrapbook doing??
    Carnegie''s been too long...but I have to say... Montreal Smoked Meat is right up there...guess you have to come back to Canada eh?

  6. Ummm.... something has rocked your blog world... I cannot read a thing:-( Are you back in Germany yet or still cruizing through the United States?

  7. Wow! Now I am in. Jersey reminds me of Superior, the ugly twin of Duluth... It is always so sad to go from Duluth, MN to Superior, WI (neighbors ~ literally)... Superior is definitely the neglected one and demonstrates his anger by remaining ugly, mean, and very uninviting.