The Out of Towners Street Level

| 18 Apr 2016 | 12:59

I tagged along. I usually don’t. But my sister and brother-in-law were in from Indiana and they had some places they wanted to get to so I went with them.

Best thing we did together was the Whitney. I hadn’t been. When you live alone you can go anytime; so sometimes you need a reason to pick the day. They were my reason. I liked everything about it. So did they. The light is wonderful. So is the floor plan. Windows with the river to see. Outdoor art off a couple upper floors. From there you see Meatpacking District buildings and streets in a light rain. The art on all the floors is great American stuff. Familiar and exciting right in front of you.

We had coffee in the stylish café in the museum. Very nice. They’d just arrived that morning. It was thrilling for them to be there. For me too.

I didn’t care that we couldn’t go on the Highline. It was raining too much for that. To me, it’s all hype anyway. You can’t even walk at your normal pace. You creep along so you can ooh and aah at shrubbery. But we would come back and walk it another day.

They loved the Frick. I didn’t go with them. I was busy. I knew they’d like it.

We met for lunch at E.A.T., after the Frick, on Madison. Lively. Bright. Food was fine. I got dessert. I usually do. Not a cheap lunch. I’m not sure why we went there. Once trendy. Still the good logo.

Next day we went to the World Trade Center Museum. I wasn’t ever going to go. I had run down there with my camera the day it happened . I saw a tower crumble in front of me. I did shots in the neighborhood bar for days after. But it meant something for them to go see it. Their daughter’s best friend from college died in one of the towers.

Don’t tell anyone, but I wasn’t moved at all. I’ve seen too much documentary footage about it. I was obsessed with watching such stuff. I’ve talked about the day with people a hundred times and every time my eyes watered, especially in my drinking days. I could still get watery watching CNN from that day. But not a museum about it.

They took a picture of their daughter’s best friend’s name engraved on a wall outside. By one of the pools that are the towers’ footprints, if I’m saying it right.

You could tell they were excited to be in the city. They’re travelers. But they’ve got kids and grandchildren in DC and Boston and two mountain towns out west, so New York’s been awhile for them. They’re good walkers. Their pace fits here. That’s all-important. Most important maybe.

They went out to a fancy dinner with my two daughters and another night with a college-friend couple. They’re good at that. I’m not. I watched hoops at home.

You’re reminded who you are when you met up with family or go to a school reunion.

You see the city along with your visitors. It makes it fresh. You look up at places like you used to. You go in a store you haven’t been in in years. You even dress a little better.

You’re wowed by the dynamism of the place. But you always mostly are. You tell people who ask what it’s like to live there that you like every day here.

They went to a matinee of ‘The King and I’ at Lincoln Center. I met them for lunch at The Smith over there before their show. They didn’t love the show or maybe they didn’t love themselves for picking something so safe.

I walked over and met them on the Highline. I texted them that I was just getting on at 18th Street. They walked along it from 14th and met me. They were singing its praises at that point. Friends back home had told them not to miss it. Hell, everyone tells you not to miss it. We walked with our arms at our side to the end. By the end they agreed with me that it wasn’t much.

We met my daughters and grandchildren for dinner a couple hours later. That was much.

After dinner, they asked someone outside the place to take our picture.