One of the delightful things about living in New York, any large city I suppose, but maybe more-so in New York because of the city's rapid rate of change, is that you're always seeing something you've never seen before.
Even if you've seen it 100 times.
Last night I went downtown to Tribeca to meet a friend and an expensive glass of wine. Tribeca, for those non-New Yorkers in my vast readership, stands for the TRIangle BElow CAnal. It's about the coolest part of town now, with scores of old cast-iron industrial buildings, now reincarnated as $17 million homes for bankers and their usual complement of four blonde children in fine French clothing.
I used to have clients, or jury duty, in the neighborhood, but now I rarely venture into the area. In fact, whenever I'm down there, I feel like a hick.
I'm from the gridded part of New York. Where the streets and avenues make orderly, mathematical sense. That part of Manhattan, its geographic bulk, was laid out on a giant map way back in 1811, when I was just a young copywriter. Like the city of Brasilia, much of Manhattan was planned even before people lived above 14th Street.
Tribeca is older. It's streets, while not quite European, are more cowpaths than straight lines.
So when I go downtown, I'm out of sorts. I hardly know the difference between Murray Street and Warren Street. In all, it leaves me feeling like a hayseed.
Anyway, I arrived early to meet my friend so I took a walk around and tried to notice things. I'm good at noticing things--call it the joy of paranoia. I'm especially good at reading old bronze signs and the starving, hysterical, naked scrawls of raw graffiti.
No point today. Just a little random reportage.
And some things I saw when I was in New York. But essentially a tourist out of town.