Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Chicago on Steroids

I'm not sure what happened but somewhere along the way I hit a glitch in the space/time continuum. I think it happened around 7th Ave. and 33rd St. Scott and I turned a corner and there was Madison Square Garden. It was one of those moments when all of those files stored neatly away in your mind suddenly come flying open and enter "now." All of those files were simply television. Now was... well... now. The same thing happened in Times Square, Rockefeller Center, NBC Studio's, etc., etc., etc. Yeah, my just-turned-52-year-old knees were screaming at me. The thirty or so pound back pack I was hauling didn't help but... well, I told them to shut-up and I kept walking.

For me, Manhattan is easy to explain. I grew up in the 'burbs of Chicago. Hadn't ever been to NYC until this week. There was just no need. But I went to help Scott celebrate the termination of his bachelorhood and that was a good choice. Here is what I discovered. NYC is simply Chicago on steroids. I'm suspending the internationally known rule of paragraphs for a moment and moving to bullet points...

- Those wide and clean streets you see in TV ... well, they aren't. You know the place where Matt and Katie's replacement (I miss me some Katie) stand and greet people on "the plaza?" Well, it's just a little dirty, scrungy street. With a big stack of steel railings that they set up in the mornings to separate the famous from the not famous. It was a place. That's about it.

- Times Square is insanity at its finest. Turn it off and the world’s energy problems are solved. Don't ANYBODY get in my face again and complain about my usage of fossil fuels until they TURN OFF TIMES FREAKEN SQUARE.

-In Chicago or my adopted St. Louis I can honk my horn any time I want to. It is my God given right and I believe that it is either in the Ten Commandments or the Declaration of Independence. I keep confusing the two. If I honk my horn in Manhattan it is a $350 fine. God help you if you have a coronary and fall face forward into your steering wheel setting off your cars horn. I don't know if they charge by the minute or by the offense but your "noise ordinance ticket" could well surpass your hospital bill.

- Subways? They have 'em. Where do they go? You either had to grow up in the city or have a degree in the translation of hieroglyphics to get anywhere. And they obviously let you practice for your degree on the underground subway walls. Interesting.

- You can walk to any corner in Manhattan and get anything you want to eat as long as it is a hot dog.

Ok, there's more but I'm in Chicago and I have to drag my son back to St. Lou for his impending wedding. Emma is sitting in his parking lot waiting to drive us down. Scott's being a party scrooge though and won't let me put the top down. I think it has to do with his hair. I keep trying to remind him that the BRIDE is supposed to be beautiful but he just won't listen...