Sunday, June 22, 2008

New York City Trip: South Street Seaport, Brooklyn Bridge (Part 5)

Sunday, October 11

After waking up around noon, Patricia and I went off to eat lunch in Little Italy. For the first day since I arrived the weather was wonderful. It was sunny and warm and I was able to wear shorts and tennis shoes. Little Italy was a neat little area tucked down simple, low-rise streets. There were a lot of people walking down the different avenues with quaint sidewalk-sale shops and generation old restaurants. After Lunch, we continued down from Little Italy into Chinatown. Oddly, I found these two areas remarkably similar. The only major difference was the culture. . . and the skanky smell of rotting fish.

Our final destination for the day was the South Street Seaport. The Seaport was much like Central Park in many respects; a true study in contrasts. Anchored along the docks were many beautiful ships, some of which were historical crafts and others were cruiseships Behind the rickety planks of the docks and the old, faded, wooden posts burst forth the power and intimidating dominance of the big city.

There was a mall area down by the water where we had a bite to eat and a refreshing desert. There was also an outdoor area with lots of chairs where one could relax and enjoy the view. Laying back in my chair, I had a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge and the riverside portion of the burrow of Brooklyn. After the Seaport, Patricia and I returned again to her apartment where we once again parted ways for the evening.

I didn’t really know what I was in for when I was invited to visit Stacie. Despite our extensive conversations, I still didn’t know her very well. So, when she said that she lived in Brooklyn Heights, across the street from the Brooklyn Promenade, that meant nothing to me. Well, it didn’t take me long to understand the significance of this newfound data. I have since learned that the tiny neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights is the most famous (and expensive) neighborhood in Brooklyn Walt Whitman is one of several great writers who once lived in Brooklyn Heights and there was a huge plaque on the brownstone next door to hers with an inscription honoring another great poet who once lived there.

Now back to this view. The Brooklyn Promenade (Esplanade) is a narrow walkway on the Brooklyn shore along the East River. It lies just above the busy Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and offers an unobstructed view of downtown Manhattan that will leave the most mouthy thrill-seeker speechless. The Promenade truly required more than just a little appreciation and thus, I just sat there and took it all in. I still remember my comments to Stacie. The first thing I said was, "This is why I came to New York City. . . this is what I wanted to see." We stayed there for a while enjoying the view as the sun was setting. It started to get a little chilly and Stacie left me for a while to walk across the street to get a jacket.

When she departed, I took a moment to appreciate what was going on. I think it was one of those watershed moments for me; one of those moments you look back on years later; one of those moments that I try to stop what I am doing and concentrate not on what I’m thinking, but on what I’m feeling. I had so wanted to be. . . exactly where I was. When I thought of New York City and how I wanted to see it, I thought to myself, "I wonder if I could find a beautiful, relaxing place away from the bustling city where I can just relax and gaze upon the city’s majestic beauty." Well, I was there.

Everybody dreams of youth, and everybody dreams of the time and things they did when they were young; why? I believe part of the reason to a certain degree involves people’s failure to appreciate their youth when they were young. And thus, they often sigh and think back to missed opportunities and wish they were young again so they could experience life again AS A YOUNG PERSON. I don’t want to be like that. I have taken steps to avoid that from happening. So far, I have lived my life keeping in mind that I will one day be older. In other words, I appreciate and understand things in light of the phase of life I am in. And, I have been happy. Thus, I have had few regrets. Instead, I have fond memories. And this was one of them.

I stood there on the Promenade and gazed out on the city with thoughtful and emotional eyes. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, a deep, youthful breath understanding that things would not always be this good. After all, who knows what the future holds. War, poverty, disease, depression, all could be in the future. However, no matter what comes in the future, no one will be able to take away that moment; that moment when I was on the Promenade, that moment when I was young and full of life, that moment when I gazed off into the iron jungle with pure eyes and a hopeful spirit. That moment will be mine forever.

When Stacie returned, we stayed on the Promenade for a short while longer before heading off to dinner. Stacie let me make the call for dinner. I suggested sushi and she obliged. She had never had sushi before, but did very well.

After dinner, we again returned to the Promenade where we spent several hours talking and looking at the beautiful lights of the city. I could have stayed there all night, but eventually the evening had to end. At the conclusion of the evening, we returned briefly to Stacie’s apartment where she showed me some of her work from design school. I was quite impressed with her talent and creativity. I wish I had a talent for drawing. Anyway, we called it a night around midnight and I took a taxi back to Manhattan.

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