I (Heart) New York (City)

One of the many reasons i am, or have grown to be, such a lone traveler is the fact that i not only change my mind…

frequently, in mid-sentence/thought/action; it really is a joy being Anthony. It is a magnificent thing being the constantly shifting me. I don’t have to consult with a partner or sidekick; no permission do i seek in the continued growth of me…toward an – “I-don’t-care-what…”

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My last weekend in New York City was spent in wrap-up mode. The Friday night i took my best-friend-for-life (the one living in New York) to dinner at my favorite NYC restaurant – Caravan of Dreams. After seeing her home, i went down to the radio station to sit in on Jay Smooth’s Underground RailRoad, which celebrated its 20th year on the airwaves in New York City this past September; as it happened i just got into town and was at that show. We didn’t do anything special that evening. I was its Executive Producer when the program first went on the air, all those many years ago, with Smooth as the creator, conductor…and everything else – he was 18 at the time.

He had established the open “disclaimer” for the program. In this disclaimer he explained that if one was offended by youth expressing themselves…

Or if one took exception to “broken” English…

At the point of mentioning the broken part of broken English, i would throw down the rather large set of keys i carried as Arts Director onto the transmission desk counter -- making a crashing sound.

(It was the only real contribution i gave to the program; other than just staying out of his way and not having any “bright” ideas in the shaping or gestation of what is now the longest running Hip Hop program on the New York broadcast spectrum.)

On this occasion, my last weekend in the Northern hemisphere for a while, i decided to gift to Smooth (and the underground crew) the mangrove seed pod (shell) ankle bracelet i wear since receiving a number of them made for me in India a few years back. So now the program can official use an organic and primal sound recognized throughout the world.

The next morning i saw my best friend for life (NY) off, as she and her sister went on vacation for a week.

(They would not be around for my departure back to Cape Town.)

That morning i went to Buddy’s Saturday class at Medgar Evers College. My Fraternity brother was particularly humorous in this class as, at one point, he went off and described how “white-skinned” privilege works in the scheme of racial things. One example he used is when folks get on an elevator and the white person always waits for the Black person to press the floor indicator first…

That evening i visited the Liquid Sound Lounge and answered phones for the (mini) fundraising drive they had going on.

I chilled on Sunday, but as the evening approached and night was falling; i suddenly got the urge to be a New York tourist. So i hopped on a bus and took a trip through mid-Manhattan, changing buses at 42nd Street to continue to 23rd Street, where i intended to take night pictures of the Madison Square Park sculptures i photographed one day in September when first i arrived on this, as it turns out to be, rather stupendous trip.

It was interesting to note how the early evening crowds down Broadway began thickening at around 72nd Street to a mass at 42nd Street, where the lights were brightest. Much neon in abundance….

At 34th Street, around the Madison Square Garden area, the lights were almost as bright and the crowds were a little slimmer; however by the time one gets to 23rd Street the lights are no more as well as the peopled crowds. In fact, when i got over to where Broadway meets 5th Avenue at the park, the lights placed to light the works of art (except for one piece) were not operational.

Dejected for the missed opportunity of photographing night lit works of art, i headed back up Broadway to 34th Street where around Macy’s animated, mechanically puppeteered display windows drew large crowds. I used the video setting on the Cannon Power Shot to capture the feeling(s). This was on the Broadway side of the store i hadn’t been in since the 80’s when security guards would consistently follow me, as a young looking Black man, around the store.

In the 34th Street windows they had the often displayed “Virginia” Santa Clause story immortalized by The Globe newspaper.

Then I decided to go into full tourist mode and went up to Rockefeller Center. It was very slow going, navigating the crowds past the diamond district up to the tree…a few blocks short of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. But the crowds were very friendly, and except for the stupidly of several people bringing stroller-with-toddler into such a situation…

One tourist couple asked me to use their camera to take a photo of them with the tree in the background. He wasn’t really into it – (stereo)typical “man” thing.

The tree, as always, is a rather gaudy thing...lots and lots and lots of color balls overlooking the ice skating rink…brings back memories of one season skating with a girlfriend there….

I finally had enough and headed back to the upper Westside, where when i got into the elevator with a white couple the guy doesn’t see what button a pushed and does the typical white man thing; with what he thinks is a slick way of finding out what i’m doing in “his” building… A, my name is, with an extended hand to shake…A, hope we don’t make too much noise reference with a look toward his woman…

I went along with the game as sometimes Anthony likes to indulge a jerk (“White” word –ed). I didn’t even bother to let him know i’ve been in the building for over 25 years. My name is even in a mailbox there. It’s my voting and legal residency in the States. I should have just showed him my New York State driver’s license.

The Holiday Tourist

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