New York City

July 9 - July 15


Sunday - Day One

We plan to have a light driving day - three and a half hours to New Providence, New Jersey, where Colin has found us a free place to park. We get off to a good start, except that we miss the exit that will take us north and we end up heading towards Annapolis. This is rectified by our doing an about-turn and heading back till we find the right road. It is a bright day, not cloudless, but the clouds look like cotton candy as it's being spun in the spinner. Baltimore at its most industrial, by the harbour with great loading cranes labelled "Port of Baltimore", is beautiful. There is a low haze on the horizon, not enough to make things shimmer, but just enough to make them a little soft around the edges. We listen to Sunday NPR programmes. Philip drives and I take out my navigational frustration on my enemies in Civilization.


As we drive deeper into New Jersey, the clouds gather overhead (the forecast said it would be overcast) and make it oppressive. It is not a hot day, but a little humid. I navigate cautiously. We have numerous directions, culled from the internet, but the first set were the ones that got us off on the wrong start, so I find a map and give Philip the most uncomplicated ones I can find. This takes us some way out of our way, but so be it - it is to be hoped that we won't get lost this way. Not a good idea to get lost in New Jersey.

Anyway it gives us some more time on the New Jersey Turnpike. I keep looking out for the spot where people were dropped after their 30 minutes of being John Malkovich.

Oh how our reality is shaped by film!

The beauty of New Jersey rests in power lines, oil rigs, skinny tensile etchings against a greying sky. We pass an oil rig spoiting fire from its top. (Well, that's what we thought it was, untutored as we are in these things). All around us: buildings, rigs, stacks spouting smoke, brick houses, freeways, airplanes. The heart of a huge industrial nation.


We get to New Providence later than expected, and switch cars. Then we are driven into town to Colin's, a beautiful apartment on the East Side, whose balcony is fertile with plants and overlooks the Empire State Building and from which, if it were on the right side of the building, one could also see the Chrysler Building, its metropolitan lines glinting in the sunshine. New York is muggy but on the fifteenth floor it is breezy too, and so the balcony is a fine place to sit. Philip and I go across the road for a *good* Chinese meal - no sticky sauces, no grease-toughened eggrolls, and no fortune cookies. Very nice. We contact our friends in New York - Bonnie, Ronnie, Philip's friend Kim, and Holly, and set dates to get together with them - a gathering at Colin's with his friends and ours, to be held on Saturday. And then we go to sleep in a guest room that could have slipped out from a good B&B.

 back to washington
 on to day 2


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