Public spaces

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The next time you're in NYC (p.s. nobody calls it "NYC"), keep your eyes peeled for these "privately owned public spaces," which you will find everywhere—they exist as plazas, pass-throughs, indoor seating areas, etc.—and which are, as advertised, public spaces embedded in private buildings, "in exchange for additional floor area." Meaning our sad, grimy, proletariat presence buys them more floors (peasants! ick!). I walk through approximately five million of these on my way to work in the morning. Some are okay but this one, as you can see, is what might generously be described as "charm free." That's America!

According to this info page I found on NYC.gov (only .gov calls it "NYC"), these spaces must adhere to the following design principles: 

Open and inviting at the sidewalk

  • Easily seen and read as open to the public
  • Conveys openness through low design elements and generous paths leading into the plaza
  • Visually interesting and contains seating

Accessible

  • Enhances pedestrian circulation
  • Located at the same elevation as the sidewalk

Provides sense of safety and security 

  • Contains easily accessible paths for ingress and egress
  • Oriented and visually connected to the street
  • Well-lit

Provides places to sit

  • Accommodates a variety of well-designed, comfortable seating for small groups and individuals

p.s. again: there are several of these POPS inside Donald J. Trump buildings, although of course they are very ugly. I sat in one and had coffee once—the ugliest one, on Fifth Avenue—because it was approximately 9Âş outside and my feet were frozen like fish sticks and I had to pee badly. It was a mistake, I'll admit it, but in my defense it was also 2004.

The good place

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Today we had brunch at a not-great place, followed by rooftop bloody marys at a lovely place, followed by a beer at one of the best places (The Ginger Man). Truly the last was a respite for a band of weary souls on this, another putrid humid summer day, when as we all know FOR THE LOVE OF GOD IT SHOULD BE AUTUMN.

The Corner

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I read this piece about non-marriage in the Times (yo) today where the writer mentions a recently divorced friend who estimates that she was happy in her marriage about 3% of the time. This sounded terrible to me, as most marriages do, and naturally led me to reflect on my own happiness levels since I have the luxury of thinking about myself 97% of the time, which not coincidentally is one of the many reasons I'm not married. Surprise!

Overall I would guess that I'm happy approximately 65% of the time. And I say this as a very crabby person who is crabby right now. I worry about a lot of things, but that just seems like part of the overall life deal, and for the most part I've been lucky. It would be criminal negligence not to blame most of my happiness on pure dumb luck and a lack of true hardship: while I can manufacture outrage at just about any idiot thing in a hot second, I actually don't have that many legitimate beefs against the world. Sorry to disappoint you, people who want me to be miserable! You have been outfoxed yet again.

Spy center

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I pass by many weird and amazing sights on my normal route to work in the morning. If it's not hot I usually walk from Columbus Circle, which is ~ .7 miles, and pre-9:00 a.m. is the one time of day I love midtown. Only the workers and most determined tourists (i.e., packs of ladies in their sixties) are out and about, and every coffee shop is full, and there are lines of cabs waiting at the curb of every hotel, and the women all have their walking shoes on and 9 out of 10 people are wearing backpacks, even men in suits. Everyone seems fresh and eager and vulnerable in some way, I guess, before the day sets in, as if they haven't fully strapped on their masks yet, and if the air is brisk but not cold and the sun is shining, it's just about the most perfect thing I know.

Look at the light

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I stayed home from work yesterday because I've had trouble sleeping lately: something about the switch from summer to autumn, from the drone of the air conditioner to an open window and sounds from the street, and all the light coming in, it takes time for me to adjust. So I was too exhausted to function and thought I'd be able to sleep during the day, except I checked the news and knew I would never fall back to sleep. I turned on CBS This Morning and Gayle King was on the phone with one of the hosts from The Highway, since we broadcast from the Route 91 Harvest Festival every year, and he was talking about what it was like to hide behind the stage when the shooting started, and later what it was like to step over bodies, looking for people who could still be helped. After a while we got an email from HR, letting us know the people we work with were all safe.

I don't know. Las Vegas is one of my favorite places in the world. I've had some of my best vacations there, and some of my best memories: the thought of it brings me nothing but joy. And I don't understand how we just keep going on like this, why nobody has the courage to fix what is so obviously broken, why we are so willing to sacrifice body after body after body after body after body after body to the men who hold the money behind these machines. I don't know how we all don't just walk around screaming all the time, but we don't, somehow. Of course we don't. And every story we tell ourselves about the great American experiment has to start and end with this: We the People of the United States, are not brave enough—are not strong enough—do not care enough—to fix what is broken. We don't even care enough to try.

I keep wondering if I should start a weekly newsletter to share these and other important thoghtz but A) I already have this cool blog & B) I don't suppose anyone wants to read an email that's just the word FUUUUCK over and over and over. 

At the Sunday greenmarket

I snapped this photo whilst standing in line to buy my three tomatoes and three peppers, and it's blurry because my hands were shaking due to unwise overcaffeination, a frequent weekend blunder. I'm able to resist a lot of gustatory temptations, but not this: on weekends I will drink coffee until I lift right off the ground.

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Later I was on my way home from the farmacy (CVS) and fell in behind a fellow with an unfortunate walk (you know what I mean: slightly stooped, splay-footed). He was youngish, younger than me, I thought, so this seemed doubly sad. Do you think our walks reflect our ultimate cosmic path in life? I do, sometimes. I felt it about this man, the way his head dipped forward as he lumbered along, As if he had been defeated by something. Yes, I made assumptions based on a physical characteristic, which is a terrible but natural result of being small and petty and prone to constantly drafting narratives about strangers in my head. Relax, there are worse things in life than this.

For example: when I was a toddler I was pigeon-toed, so at night my parents strapped me into braces that were bolted to a board and that's how I slept. This was the 1970s, so I doubt it could be marked down now as bad parenting, although if they were filthy rich believe me I would sue. But everybody was stupid in the 70s. It was the dumbest decade of all time, or at least until the 80s came along. It did cure me, though, and sometimes I think my walk today is a direct result of being stuck to that board as a child, unable to turn this way or that in my bed or crib or whatever, deprived of my earliest free will and struggling to break the fuck out.

LOL just kidding! Not about the board (that part was true!) but about it being responsible for my walk: wide stride, heavy footfalls, everlastingly impatient. I just want to be where I want to be when I want to be there and 99% of the world is always in my way. And the saddest thing is I can't blame that on my parents or even on New York! It's just how I was born.