Well… New York.
I got to I-House at 8.30 in the morning Wednesday. Airport and cab ride were largely uneventful (though I did have to argue with the cab driver over whether the address was real or not—apparently I already know the neighborhood better than the cab drivers working JFK’s queue).
Everyone told me a lot of tales about it, but I don’t see much difference between NYC and San Francisco, frankly. It’s a place, a city, like any other. Not particularly excellent, not particularly sub-par. (Admission: I like Chicago best of any major city I’ve visited so far.)
Morningside Heights: Well… What can I say? The neighborhood is pretty average (even with Columbia sitting in the middle of it) and not particularly commercial. In fact, I had trouble finding out online where I’d have to go to shop. “Which way to retail?” was my first question, and despite the proliferation of websites about this part of Manhattan, none of them were actually helpful.
I walked around by myself for the first half of the day trying to locate the nearest commercial district but instead just saw a lot of Harlem and random living space. It was an article in some rag about encroachment of the “commercial zone below 95th street” that finally pointed me in the right direction, and after that I walked all the way down to 60th (lots and lots of blocks—but really 65 of them?) to scope it all out before taking the subway back.
Today I did the opposite—I took the 1 train all the way to the 14th street station that takes me to the school, then I walked around the southern half of Manhattan, from the west edge to the east edge and back again a few times, through the Village and Chelsea, across Times Square then all the way up to 50th. I think at this point I have seen most of midtown Manhattan between 125th and 14th, from the river to Broadway, on foot, as well as pretty much the entire Village, from one side to the other in both directions.
Two days. My feet are killing me. I think I’ve probably put in 15-20 miles of walking.
It’s a place.
What I need most right now: a better idea of what awaits me at the New School (I suppose orientation will take care of that) and an income of some kind. Also, rest and a clearer, more relaxed mental state.