New York Visit, Part I

Mike, Suzie, and I picked up the New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor line at Princeton Junction Station northbound for Penn Station.  The forecast called for rain so I included two umbrellas in my packing which looked ridiculous as we sat down on the double-decker train for the 80 minute ride into New York City.  The Northeast Corridor route has two stretches where the monotony of urban hardscapes alternating between asphalt and building gives way to an organic syncopation as one approaches Newark, NJ.   The gravel mounds that serve to support the track disappear into a skeletal trussing that allows the train to pass the Passaic River and the marshes of  Newark County without pretension.  Somewhere south of this I think I figured out what the lyrics to Pearl Jam’s “Daughter” meant and I felt sad.

The Pennsylvania Hotel is a pylon of rooms seemingly packed with the density of a neutron star.  The bed occupied most of the room and with the air mattress inflated one couldn’t actually circumnavigate the sleep surface.  It was after 10 PM on a Sunday in New York so we went to Time Square.  The closest analog I can think of to New York City sidewalks is to the halls of an underbuilt high school where traffic lanes are an emergent pattern like the streams created by water pouring down a sand heap.  Time Square itself moves between frenetic and glacial foot traffic and passing each wave of people is a process similar to pulling oneself through a door made of jello.  After we crested Time Square, we kept walking on to Central Park and then south to the hotel again covering about 5 miles of busy streets despite it then being past midnight on a Sunday.

Suzie had some things to take care of, so Mike and I took the queen-size bed with the intent that I’d migrate to the floor on Suzie’s return.  I woke up a few hours later with a knee in the small of my back from Suzie who didn’t wish to wake us so I scooched over and noted “knee there”.  I woke up a few more times with similar causes and slowly Suzie turned into a kind of Vitruvian Man/star fish hybrid with at least six arms and legs where the discovery of each nudged me over a little more.  That night I learned that I can sleep with one leg on the bed and another on the floor supporting my body.