NYC–Looking Back

The sun setting on 42nd Street

It’s a crazy time to be a writer. At least, for this writer.

I “should” be in New York right now, at a conference that I’ve attended every year. Not this year, of course. The conference was cancelled, like all the conferences and events of 2020. Cancelled. Like me, lucky to be NOT sick, not jobless. Just cancelled.

Here’s a blog from the past. New York City as I remember it, written after a trip earlier this century.

I’m just back from a trip to Manhattan with three friends. It was very relaxing – for five days we were out the door of our Times Square hotel by eight in morning, and home by two the next morning, 18 hours later.

In between: the Metropolitan Museum, the Neue Gallery, the Guggenheim, cheesecake at the Roxy deli, the NY Philharmonic (Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff);  Angela Lansbury (!) in Blythe Spirit; afternoon tea at the Ritz on Central Park South; the magnificent NYPL; Little Italy; Bloomies; the Iridium jazz club; and, oh yes, Borders at Columbus Circle where (while I lurked behind a bookcase) my friends suggested that they reorder all my books. We ended the week with a late night show in the Lincoln Center theater: Woody Allen’s new “Whatever Works.” Not brilliant, we decided, but so much fun to see it in Manhattan, where the audience claps when his name appears!

At one point as we waited to cross a busy street, one of my friends cupped her ears. It turned out she’d been bothered all week by the noise.  

“What noise?” I asked.

She meant the soothing sounds of taxis; buses; industrial motors, generators, and fans; crowds of people; alarms. All music to my ears. As opposed to the quiet suburbs where silence is broken only by the occasional ear-splitting pickup truck stereo system.

What’s noise and what’s soothing background?

It goes back to childhood, I believe. My bedroom window growing up was about 3 feet from a bar/pizza parlor. I fell asleep to the sounds of the jukebox. Later, I had a nearly 2-hour commute to college in Boston. For 4 years, I did my calculus homework on the famous MTA, often with one arm slung around a pole.

For me, noise provides stimulus to write and a reassuring background to sleep. If it’s too quiet, I can’t relax, neither to write nor to rest. Where is everyone? I wonder. Maybe I should get up and look around.

New York City is the perfect place to relax.


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4 Responses to “NYC–Looking Back”

  1. Maryellen says:

    I have always dreamed of a trip to New York City. This year my best friend since grade school and I had booked a (gulp) senior enrichment trip the third week of September. The trip even included tickets to Hamilton! On March 7 I slipped in my kitchen and had a displaced spiral fracture of the humerus, as well as some other issues. I told her my goal was to be 100% by our trip. I never dreamed that the pandemic would last this long (and longer) and that the trip would not just be postponed but cancelled. I am still working toward my goal by the third week of Septmeber and just hope and pray that SOMEDAY we will get to see the Big City!

  2. Camille says:

    I hope you do, too, Maryellen.
    I’m so sorry for your fall, and hope you’ll be ready to go when the pandemic is finally over.
    And, take it from me, you do not have to be 100% mobile to enjoy New York, so GO no matter what! Still I wish you the 100%!


  3. Doris Gottemoeller, RSM says:

    Hi, Camille,
    Seeing your picture in the recent Fordham magazine and reading about your accomplishments made me think of bygone days, trudging to school summer and winter. Our paths have diverged in some ways, but it sounds like neither of us has lacked for adventure. My Mercy community has sent me all over the world, in one role or another. I still recall gratefully your early morning tutoring for the German exam. Congratulations on all of your accomplishments and stay well! With fond memories, Doris

  4. Camille says:

    Doris! What a wonderful surprise! I’d love to hear of your adventures, and what “roles” you took on. More than just sitting in an office, which is a lot of my life!

    Email is camille (at) minichino (dot) com.