Sunday, June 22, 2014

Only in New York

Taking a break from a jog around the Central Park Reservoir.
I got to New York on Friday and got everything done that I wanted to do before leaving this afternoon.

I jogged around the Central Park Reservoir and had the best run in a long time at my old stomping grounds. I don't know how far I went, because my distance included getting to the reservoir from Jeanne and Bruce's apartment at East 72nd street, but I know I ran for about an hour, with just a little walking on the way to the reservoir and back. The soft cinder pathway is ideal, and there are runners who set the pace and even a few to pass.

I must have a muscle memory of running there,  because it came back to me like a tennis shot comes back after time taken off. The familiar scenery around the reservoir is always stunning, and there are  plenty of distractions on the road through the park to the reservoir: babies in strollers, old people on benches, dogs of all sizes, people speaking many languages, a little girl telling her mother "No" and then spelling it for emphasis – "N-N-O-O!"

I spent time with Jeanne and Bruce and went out to dinner with them and also with Serena on New York time, which is also Spanish time and actually my own time.

Cat in a box.
Their couch is one of my favorite places to spend the night. The sounds of Third Avenue lull me to sleep, having the same effect as crickets might have for a country person. Their cat, Chloe, a Scottish Fold, is the only cat I have ever liked. Sometimes she acts like a dog. I was going to pick her up, but I think she got scared when I toppled over after getting down on the floor to take her photo.

My friend Pam and I had a strange experience while having lunch at PJ Bernstein's, an uptown Third Avenue deli whose walls are lined with photos of famous people who have visited. It seemed plausible when a large man came in, sang us a song and said he was waiting for Jackie Mason, an old-time comedian who might not be familiar to the younger set but who made an impression on me with his Jewish schtick when we saw him years ago.

Mason had listed his Jewish mother's admonishments when he drove off in his car: "Call me when you get to the corner, call me from the first light, call me from the first rest stop, call me when you get there." I could hear my mother's voice, and now I hear my own.

The man we were talking to, Vincent Grimaldi, said he and Jackie were going to eat pastrami sandwiches and collaborate on new material. In the meantime, he told us he was a Bronx attorney, had run for New York mayor and for president and sued Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Catholic church. I looked it up and saw that all this and more was true.

The manager said Jackie had just called and was on his way. I wanted to tell the comedian about the impression he had made on me, and we waited quite a while. But it began to feel like waiting for Godot, who might or might not come.

Besides, the main reason for my trip was to visit Aunt Marge and Bill, and I didn't want to get there too late. At 95, Marge still gets her hair done regularly and wears pretty jewelry. She and Bill are happy in their beautiful apartment with a view of the East River. They watch people come and go next door at the United Nations and, with an aide, they go to the little nearby park with the waterfall and even out to eat, Marge in her wheelchair and Bill with his walker.

We talked about how, given the mess that the world is in, we really can't complain and how there is always something to look forward to, such as the Fourth of July fireworks, for which they have some of the best seats in town.


Anonymous said...

I too really love that reservoir. I'm glad you had a good run.

Anonymous said...

And whoa! Grimaldi was like an energized elephant! Our encounter could happen only in our hometown...

Great to see you!