I took the subway to the bottom of Manhattan. I exited the number 1 train at South Ferry and it felt weird not seeing the World Trade Center. New York City is like your favorite band that keeps touring even after their guitar player died. They got a new one and he's not bad. But it's just not the same.
I was supposed to meet Haley for lunch. She flew in from Santa Fe last Monday and has not been back to NYC since she left two years ago. Has it been that long? It has. And all her New York friends have been pissed that she hasn't been back like she promised. After living here for six years including four years at Columbia plus two lost years of that post-college funk phase, she needed some time to pass before she truly missed this place. I think she might have gone another year without returning if it weren't from the hordes of guilt trips she got. Plus she was invited to Jenna's brother's wedding this past weekend and decided to leave New Mexico for a week.
Haley told me to meet her and a couple of old classmates at Palacinka's. Afterwards we'd find some place to drink. I liked drinking in the afternoons in NYC. It made me feel like I was alive. I've never been to that Palacinka's on Grand Street but it's a crowded Eastern European crepe joint in the West Village/Soho area with grey walls.
I decided that I was going to get exercise and gawk at hot women during my walk from Battery Park to the West Village. Spalding Gray is one of my favorite writers. He used to love taking walks around the city too, except he had an ass fetish, specifically nice asses in jeans. He would find a hot chick wearing jeans and follow her. He'd walk a good ten to fifteen feet behind her. Far enough that she wouldn't freak out, but close enough so her could enjoy the curves. When she went into a building or to the subway, Gray find another ass and follow that one.
I wasn't stalking women, but there's something about the Spring in New York City when women shed their bulky winter clothing and show off some skin, some ass crack, some cleavage, and even some bush.
Within a few minutes I stood at the intersection of Chambers Street. I walked past a payphone that I frequently used several years ago. I bought pot from a guy who worked around the corner. I'd use the phone to tell him I was ready to meet up. Sometimes I waited for him in the Borders Bookstore that used to be located in the World Trade Center. Most of the time I hung out near the West African street vendors that burned off incense. I would try to find a good deal on headphones or AA batteries.
I made my way up Broadway to Canal Street which has become one of the biggest clusterfucks on the Eastern seaboard. During the days, the traffic is brutal and rivals LA traffic. Cars are coming out of the Holland Tunnel trying to merge into city streets or cars on city streets trying to merge onto the Manhattan Bridge which takes you into Brooklyn. You can walk from the Hudson River to the East River in less time that it would take to drive it because the congestion was so dense. The tourists flock to Chinatown for good food and cheap knock offs of anything such as T-shirts, belts, perfume, Louis Vuitton handbags, watches, and jewelry. Everything is fake in Chinatown. I'm starting to suspect that the Chinese people there aren't really Chinese.
I thought about taking some random photos in Chinatown, but it was too crowded and I can't stand walking behind very very very very slow tourists on tiny sidewalks that are clogged with street vendors. I avoided the clusterfuck and headed North through SoHo. I passed a few lofts that brought back weird and wild memories of my puerile 20s. One building housed a gallery where a friend had an art show. She used to paint these random bras on huge 10 x 10 foot canvas. Like most young artists in NYC, she grew bitter with the scene and got sick of starving by the time she turned 30. She married a rich guy and moved to the burbs where she's an art teacher at posh Montessori school.
I walked past the apartment where I used to do a lot of my late night partying in the mid-1990s. Troy was a preppy doofus from Andover that always scored good drugs from LSD to Valium. I spent many nights ripping gaggers on his glass coffee table. He owned a huge loft with a loud sound system. His family was uber-rich and his father was some famous lawyer who got kept another famous rich rock musician out of jail for heroin possession back in the 1980s.
He also sold my co-workers coke. He wasn't a dealer. Troy was just a cokehead who wanted to pay less for his habit so he bought a ton of coke in Spanish Harlem and overcharged casual weekend coke warriors like my work friends.
Troy was in a band with some friends of mine. He was a terrible guitar player too and always got too drunk before his gigs. At the time his major influences included Oasis, Dave Matthews Band, and the Smashing Pumpkins. Yeah, I know... he's a total douchebag
I had sex with Troy's girlfriend's 18-something year old sister in his bathroom at 4:30am one morning. She was a Suicide Girl in training and was the first chick I ever made out with that had both her nipples pierced. I had to turn on the water because she screamed too loud. It wasn't because of my sexual prowess, rather she squealed like a drowning puppy because I kept pulling her hair. When we finished our romp, I wiped my penis on his bath towel.
I never told Troy about one of the my biggest transgressions of 1995. I guess this is my public admission of guilt. So if you're reading this... Troy, I apologize for taking advantage of your girlfriend's neurotic sister's precocious sexual appetite, then luring her into your bathroom where we had intercourse for about four minutes. OK, three and a half. I then wiped my penis clean with your towel because you were a dumb ass motherfucker who kept forgetting to buy toilet paper. What was I supposed to do? What if I had to take a dump?
The sad thing is that I forgot her name. I do recall that she had an unhealthy fondness for Bjork and kept insisting that she was the most innovative musical artist of the end of the 20th century.
No wonder I forgot her name.