If I think my day was a little undone by the continuance of Ed’s deposition (which we thought would be completed by the week-end), I feel even more sorry for his attorney, who has been robbed of a life since Ed’s case came to trial. (Actually, this is the beginning of case number two which, ironically, pertains to events prior to those recounted in case number one; this is what happens when you place the tools of litigation into the hands of someone - not Ed! - who likes nothing more than to play with them, constantly and repeatedly, in the same way that you and I may like watching the same good movie over and over again.)
Ah well. It cannot be helped. From our Bleecker Street fourth floor empty room, I watch the sky turn a morning pink as the sanitation workers picked up the litter of a week-end night in the West Village.
We set out early, choosing to walk to the swank lawyer offices near Rockefeller Plaza. It's a familiar and not unpleasant walk and the weather is New York's best.
After a few minutes of case talk, I leave them to their work. For the better part of the day, I am on my own.
I can’t remember when I last had hours to kill within a handful of blocks of Bloomingdale’s. I’m not much of a shopper, but the holiday displays are out...
Bloomingdale's window display features "the world's two perfect couples"
...and the streets are crowded and lively and I'm thinking this might do me good – to just flow with the wave of humanity that is out and about, looking for sales, imagining that this year was no different than any other (my own moonlighting stints and work demands notwithstanding).
I spend a long time admiring the stunning clothes I so rarely see in my home town. I’d forgotten what it was like to care about style. New York sucks you in in this way, even as you vow to never like the place again. It has a way of beguiling you with its haughtiness and rudeness. You feel proud to have once lived here, even as you're always glad to be done with it at the end of a trip back.
Ed calls during breaks, reporting on the slow pace of the deposition (one could speculate if the attorneys on the other side wanted to bring in good billables before the fiscal year ended). Let me walk back to Bleecker and wait for you there, I suggest to him.
I turn south. We came up sixth, and now I head down fifth. Past pretzels and chestnuts and hot dogs...
...past the Union Square market...
...and just as I approach the Village, Ed calls. Done!
And now we rush to fit in promised pieces of a day. We pick up the pace (which means Ed merely takes big strides and I run to keep up) and turn toward the lower East side. This is where Ed would come with his dad. To the deli, on Sundays. For the roast beef on rye and the pickles.
Katz, the oldest deli in New York, the only one where they still carve everything by hand, is crowded and I see someone tucking away a Zagat Guide and I think that by now, every place in Manhattan must have its spot on a google map and in Zagat guides. I listen to customers confer in French and then ask awkwardly for corned beef and coleslaw. A a table nearby, an old couple, surely local, slouches over their plates of food. Outsiders, insiders, mixing at Katz's. In a crowded sort of way.
We take our sandwiches to go and turn back slightly north, past what surely once must have been the Polish neighborhood...
... to the home of Ed’s aunt. We stay there well into the evening. I listen to the two of them review family sagas (including the present one that is playing itself out in court) and I think how important it is to sometimes sit back and hear that narrative through the conversation of someone else.
It’s late, but we’re not done with the day yet. We have another meeting with another family person – a daughter of mine who happens to be in the city for the next few days.
the three of us sit at a bar and Ed eats oysters and sips orange juice and I think that this companion of mine (occasional, traveling) has more of the New York grit and edginess here than back home. Maybe we all do.
My daughter has further plans for her evening. We wave her on as we head up to the empty fourth floor space on Bleecker Street.