Friday, May 30, 2003

I love New York. Now, more than ever.

Really. It's more than just some marketing slogan for me. The good, bad and ugly; I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Went for a walk at lunch today, up Water Street to the South Street Seaport, walked the pier, then went across on Fulton Street to Nassau Street and headed back south to the office. The weather outside is beautiful - finally! - not too warm, nice and breezy. The Seaport was bustling with NYers and tourists alike. I picked up a Mango Italian Ice for a little childhood flashback. (Only partial, though, as I don't remember mango being an option back then.) Fulton Street and Nassau were almost exactly as I remembered from back in '89 when I worked on Maiden Lane for the Federal Reserve as a Currency Verification Clerk. It's the place that gets robbed in the last Die Hard.

My second "real" job (back in '88, I was a teller at the Bank of New York for a year), we processed, or verified, huge trays of money every night, discarding worn bills and IDing counterfeits. It paid $19k/yr, including a bonus for working the 4-Midnight shift. High-security, four of us worked in a room with windows on three sides and three cameras monitoring our every move. There were two known blind spots and we were all expected to watch each other as well. We handled a shitload of money and I was really tempted at times to steal some, but never did. Anytime someone came up short, the whole floor got locked down and no one left until it was reconciled. Got out of there at 3am once. Can't imagine what the security must be like now. I lasted nine months before disappearing for a week without notice. Decided to move to Miami and made up a story to cover my absence [and short-notice resignation] about Jehovah's Witnesses trying to take me back to Westchester and needing to get away. Was hoping to pave the way for a transfer to the Miami branch but, in the end, didn't have the one year of service needed.

Anyway, there's some new stores and new storefronts, but it's the same low-end, rip-off atmosphere that it always had. Bought a handful of things back then, usually electronics, that were always overpriced and, judging from the game store I went in to, nothing's changed. Grabbed a slice of pizza from the pizzeria I used to always eat at (corner of Nassau and Maiden) before heading in to work and it was as good as I remember it.

Didn't realize Nassau became Broad Street and walked past the NY Stock Exchange for the first time. Ridiculous security in front of that place. More than around City Hall or the Empire State Building!

The walk was great exercise, physical and mental, and reminded me why I've never been able to move away from here for long. There's not too many places in NY that you can walk through and not fall in love. Even the bad areas have their appeal, gritty and disturbing as it might be. If we luck into nice weather tomorrow, I want to take a walk through our new neighborhood after we check out the apartment again. Time to measure things and start figuring out what's going where and what we need to buy.

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