Sunday, April 5, 2009

nyc glimpses

i went to visit the curious and eclectic jade netanya beside central park on my way to amandables b-day bash. i found the most charming cafe right beside her house which is called Alice's Tea Cup.

But there was a surreal moment when we drove to jade's synagogue and i ended up across Amsterdam avenue waiting for traffic to pass to catch an open parking space. i crossed and started to back into a space and there was another car which had come later, but was on the right side of the street which had also stopped for the space.

As we backed up into the space he pulled up beside us and expressed his displeasure.

"we were here first" Jade informed him, "we were just on the other side of the street"
"you cant wait on the wrong side and then claim a space" he said with a measured city upset.
there was a moment of silence, i did not pretend to know the nyc street etiquette in this type of situation - jade had already been teasing me about my contry bumpkin ways - cautiously crossing streets, inability to hail cabs effectively, etc. And i was aware that it was quite a good spot for us, close to where we were going and we were basicaly int he spot already at this point.
"you can have it" jade said to the guy, in her generous spirited way
"nahh" he said "you gave it up to easily, you are freaking me out."

this really spun me around. as he drove away i was trying to figure out what was going on in his head. was he looking for a confrontation and we did not provide it? was he afraid that if we left and he parked there we would come back and do something to his car ?

i realized that jade's chiding about my lack of city skills also came with a legitimate critique of lack of understanding of this alien cultue.


Rosie said...

to funny!

unfurling said...

no, nyc is just like this. erratic, randomly courteous and warm and full of people being really real. he was both pissed that you tried to snag a space and hadn't quite followed the right of way rules well, [in an admittedly gray situation (I'd say it was his, side of the street matters, unfortunately, though I've argued if i've been waiting a while)] and he was charmed/bemused that you weren't going to have a face-off and decided to let it go. I love new yorkers...