New York has lasting effect

By Michael Howlett

December 18, 2013

Sorry I missed you guys last week, but I have a good excuse. You see, the Mistress of the Manor and I decided we needed to get away from our “little town blues.” You know, spread our wings a little. We decided we wanted “to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep.” That’s right; we hit the road for Bluefield. No, no, no, just kidding. We went to the Big Apple, Old New York.

Our first decision was how to get there. We could drive, which is madness once you get within 30 miles of New York, or we could fly and risk dying in a fiery crash, or we could take a bus. Not your Greyhound mind you, where you have to put up with smelly drunks or a couple copulating in the back seat. No, this was a tour bus. It proved to be a wise choice.

We read, we talked, we slept, we thought about drinking and copulating, but didn’t. Although most of the other people on the bus were a little stiff, were not of my ilk, you might say, we enjoyed the ride, and we had an excellent driver who guided us back through the snow and sleet that accompanied our return to this tiny burg.

Now, we spent our time in the ritzy borough of Manhattan, which is where all the fun stuff is. Okay, there’s fun stuff in the other four boroughs, but you don’t need a gun in Manhattan, which just happens to be home of Times Square, the center of the universe. Times Square is a combination of Mardi Gras, the Rio Carnival and Rooster Edwards’ annual celebration of Peculiar People Day.

Times Square is really magical, especially if you purchase some mints from a guy named Star Boy. We avoided him, but did see the Naked Cowboy, who we learned gets paid $80,000 a year by the city to stand around in his underpants and boots and pretend to play the guitar. In fact, we not only saw the Naked Cowboy, we saw his smaller sidekick. We didn’t catch his name, but I like to call him Short Drawers. Yes, the denizens of Times Square come in many shapes, sizes and genders, some of which I think are only native to New York. Some people are dressed as the Statue of Liberty, others are dressed as cartoon characters and one appeared to be a cross between Dolly Parton and Shaquille O’Neal. Scary, very scary.

Another thing about the people of Manhattan is that they are all slender beings, who walk at a brisk rate. The only women who weighed more than 100 pounds were those on the tour bus. The Mistress of the Manor said the men were slim too, but somehow I missed that. We finally figured out why these Manhattanites were so slender. We saw plenty of theatres and restaurants, clothing and jewelry stores, and banks and fitness centers. What we didn’t see were grocery stores. So, with all the walking they do and no place to buy food to take home, these poor, hungry people have no choice but to remain svelte.

As far as the sites, we saw most everything. We visited Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, Wall Street, Trump Tower, Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We saw the Bowery and Greenwich Village neighborhoods, Lincoln Center, the Dakota Hotel, Central Park and homes of fancy-smancy people like Robert Redford, Barbara Wawa and Regis. My only regret is not having the time to actually walk around Greenwich Village and Washington Square, the old haunts of Bob Dylan.

We left New York with a yearning to return soon, but little did we know that when we left we were carrying a reminder of our visit that would be evident days later. You see, we saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from a sightseeing boat, which cruised us around the Hudson River for an hour and a half. We sat on the top observation deck in order to get the best view possible, which also exposed us to the cold and elements. The day after our return, the Mistress of the Manor and I had sinus infections, which are still with us today. I can’t help thinking that if Star Boy were here, he’d have something to make us feel better, but we have no regrets. We (heart) New York.