I just got back from New York.
What a great sentence. And if you’re not astronaut Andy Thomas, or the absolute hottest single girl in town, or a proud parent of a brand-new baby, it’s unlikely you’ll have a better response to the dreaded question: What have you been doing?
Lucky for me, I did, in fact, just get back from New York, the home of aggressive-friendliness and some of the highest-waisted pants I’ve ever seen. It was, as always, unreal. I ate three hotdogs in an hour and I believe a drunken photo now exists of me pretending to be the Phantom of the Opera in Times Square.
The last time I was there everyone was into walking around with their baby strollers, with or without babies in them. It was called stroller-cising. It doesn’t seem to have survived in post 9-11 New York, where all of the bratty white kids now seem to be pushed around by black nannies.
In its place? Well, New Yorkers are like, so into yoga right now. Only a lot of them are also like, so into Jesus right now. So, to avoid straying onto a pathless journey into New Age beliefs, they have started doing something called Christian Yoga.
Of course, some of us prefer a pathless journey, and New York’s pretty good for that too. As this was my first trip overseas minus a loved one, I spent hours walking around finding obscure locations mentioned in songs that no one else would care about. Turns out my cultural references are all a bit seedy, like the corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street where Lou Reed scored in Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For My Man. Or the intersection of 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue where Dee Dee Ramone waited for men to pick him up in 53rd and 3rd.
Anyway, the US suffered its biggest natural disaster ever when I was there, apparently. But New York didn’t seem to notice. The hotdogs kept cooking, the Christian Yogis kept sermonising, the rock and roll reference points kept decaying or turning into Starbuckses. Perhaps it was disaster fatigue, or maybe everyone was too busy shouting at each other, but New Orleans seemed a lot more than half a country away.Â I heart New York.