11:58 a.m. Penn Station, New York
Another Day, Another Dollar.
I’m sitting at Don Pepi’s Delicatessen on my last morning in New York, readying to hop a train to Baltimore.
I’m having a toasted bagel with way too much cream cheese and an iced coffee because it just felt like the right thing to do.
I like this place. Don Pepi’s, I mean. All the train station and subway workers are dropping in for lunch, especially the Latino ones, and I keep picking up the most disarmingly daily snatches of conversation.
Hola, Miguel, como estas?
Good, good. And you?
You eating healthy today?
Yeah, I gotta get rid of this gut. It is not good. I never had a gut before I moved here.
Oh, God, what am I doing? I just tried to pay with my Coscto card!
A cop on a Segway with its own mini siren keeps wheeling past, back and forth. All the deli workers laugh at him behind his back.
In the train station 10 minutes back, a homeless kid asked me for some change and I gave him a five-day subway pass. He was stoked.
On the Second Street Subway Platform 30 minutes back, a homeless man strolled past me, stopped, and cried, “Once bitten by a lesbian, you will become a lesbian!”
I like this place. New York City, I mean. It’s got mad style and attitude.
Emiliano and I pushed it hard the past few days, logging miles and miles on our feet, trying to see as much as we could. He’s been here probably a dozen times, so he knows the lay of the land incredibly well and has been my enthusiastic tour guide. I’ve been here just once before, when I was 18, on New Year’s Eve 2000. I snuck into the bar at the top of the World Trade Center and drank a Long Island Iced Tea so boozy it tasted of turpentine and got me instantly smashed. My tolerances were lower back before the turn of the Milennium, I suppose.
I bet that’s true for most of us.
Running, walking, taking photos, and eating. Those have been the goals around which all of our activities have orbited. We’ve eaten: tacos, hot dogs, tater tots, macarons, cheese pizza, Chinese dumplings, bran muffin, towering sandwiches from a famous Jewish Delicatessen, pickles, Korean fried rice, Korean rice cakes with tomato-ey sauce and fish cake, Korean steamed buns, frozen yogurt, plus a few crazy cocktails, some beer, some coconut water and some Cherry Coke.
I have a scratchy throat and a mini-food hangover and am slightly chastened from the excesses of the past 72 hours. But we also ran around Central Park and walk and trekked across a large portion of the Lower East Side several times again so it should balance out.
I have plenty of photos to share, and lots more stories from my East Coast train and state-hopping adventure. Soon!