New York is like this

• Favorite diner now run by immigrants from completely different country from last visit. Colombian dish no longer available. Beautiful and hideous people out window.

• Travel in subway with poor signage. Card readers don’t work. Pushing through crowds, many milling around confused. Source of volcanic heat a mystery. Train operators shout garbled warnings at every stop.

• Passed Mongolian Embassy near Park Avenue. Essential to their work.

• Ambition to attend last weekend of show at Met foiled by long lines.

• Meandered around misty Central Park in warm drizzle instead. Jungle in Wonderland framed by looming penthouse foliage if you look up. After dusk, there remain late ducks, a heron, fat raccoons in trash cans.

• Stylish women pick their way through trash, vomit, and by sprawled drunks. Piles of uncollected trash are smaller than last time, but just as many rats.

• Danced at a dingy club that should have been called Mom’s Evil Basement. $9 drinks in plastic cups. One DJ not bad; Mom should let him have his own room.

• Cabs won’t stop, or won’t pick you up when they find out where you want to go. Cab driver warns another cab driver about locking door and the other calls him a son of a bitch. Drunk men spit at cab driver who won’t pick them up and he calls them white bastards.

• Sleeping on priceless rock hard bed in our wallpapered closet room for the night.

• Excellent brunch at L’Ecole with perfect coffee, the most impressive fruit plate ever, and correctly-made hollandaise on the eggs benedict. Out the window where we are displayed, every tourist is like a beacon in the crowds.

• An hour long wait sweating in the hot sun to enter the Met foiled by a policy against checking large bags. Thousands of legitimate travelers in NYC for the day aside, al Qaeda is itching to blow up the high-priority target which is the Met baggage check, and terrorists always use rollable luggage and would never think of putting a bomb in smaller bag. Patronizing “security” goonette came up to us in line believing she was doing us a favor telling us and could not believe we objected.

• Buying sublime New York bagels at an appetizing store run by Indian men where old Jewish ladies are regulars.

• Uniforms in subway sweatopia stop two guys for muttering something “disrespectful,” shocking crime in New York City. All patronizing goons in uniform are doing you a favor; why aren’t you respectful?

• Food festival—discovered by accident, like many good things—but in too much hurry to stop. Must instead walk and struggle to get cab because subway line we need isn’t running.

• Escape from New York by bus after line confusion. Scenery of skyscraper architecture marred by junk, trash, construction until looking back from New Jersey. Skyline looks composed from afar.

• In two months, less mixed memories inevitable: “Why don’t we go to New York more often?”

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