Show Me

23 Jul

The Gehry Building - Photo by MAG

One Year to Move Soundtrack

After my jaunt to Harlem, things calmed down a bit.  I think it might have been due to the fact that a real New Yorker took over the navigation duties and expertly guided me around the city.

After I checked into my hotel, D. and I walked up 14th Street to visit the Apple Store.  In my neck of the woods, the Apple Stores all reside in suburban malls and are roughly the size of a one-bedroom apartment -in New York that would be two studio apartments.

When we reached the corner opposite the 14th Street Apple Store, I stopped walking and stared at it for a moment before looking back at D. and exclaiming, “That’sthe store? All three stories? Holy moly!”  I then did what any Apple-loving tourist would do – pulled out my iPhone and started snapping pictures of the building.

14th Street Apple Store - Photo by MAG

Once I’d shot as many pictures as I wanted, D. and I headed inside the massive store and he laughed as I ran up the stairs like a little kid on Christmas morning exclaiming, “Look at this!  They have a whole floor for their iPads!”  In a flash, I quickfooted it up another flight, yelling, “D.!  Look!  Another whole floor for their Genius Bar! Oh my gosh!”

I doubt that even Steve Jobs was this excited when he first viewed the 14th Street store.

I’m used to the way things are run at stores in Michigan, so one of the first things I noticed was that the store had no Concierege [the friendly Apple Store greeter whose job it is to warmly welcome customers].  When it became obvious that there was no Concierge, I was confused and immediately consulted my tour guide [who I tend to view as my own personal version of Wikipedia when it comes to all things New York] and asked, “Hey D., why don’t they have anyone greeting customers?”  D. looked at me and deadpanned, “Mary, New Yorkers don’t mess around when they shop.  A greeter slows them down – and pisses them off.”  I whipped around ready to earnestly defend the role, but when I saw the grin on D.’s face we both burst into laughter.

We then headed for the subway and took it all the way down to the Financial District.  On the way downtown, D. explained the layout of the city streets in a way that made so much sense that I would later use it with other New York tourists.  The avenues are laid out east to west [with 1st Ave. the farthest east], and the streets are south to north [1st St. is just north of SoHo], and the subways are laid out in numbers and letters.  I got the hang of the A, C, and E trains while I was there, the rest will have to wait until my next trip.

As we exited the subway station, D. said he had a surprise for me. Knowing that all of the surprises thus far had been landmarks that I’d wanted to see, I was excited to see what he had in store.  The moment I cleared the stairwell and set foot on the sidewalk, I saw it.

Rising out of the ground in a column of torqued silver was the Gehry building. As I my eyes climbed skyward to take it all in, the sight of finished building took my breath away. For a moment, I was overcome with emotion, and I let out a quiet, involuntary, “Oh!”

I’d been following this building’s construction for as long as I’d been walking my own path toward freedom.  And now, here it was.  Soaring toward the sky in a tower of glass and steel was the architectural representation of my own process of reconstruction; the physical embodiment of all of the obstacles I’d faced and doubts I’d overcome in order to move forward and hang on to my faith in my dreams.

I raised my eyes to find the top of the building as I fought to hold back the tears.

Spruce Street - 2009. Photo by DMT

I couldn’t see the very top of the building because it was shrouded in fog, but I could hear Mr. Gehry’s voice saying, “Architecture is a small piece of this human equation, but for those of us who practice it, we believe in its potential to make a difference, to enlighten and enrich the human experience, to penetrate the barriers of misunderstanding and provide a beautiful context for life’s drama.”

And I let the tears flow.

Standing nearby, D. reached out and put a supportive hand on my shoulder.  He’d been an integral part of this moment since he’d been the one who had taken pictures of the building’s progress and sent them to me.  With tears streaming down my cheeks, I turned and gave him a small smile, then took the camera out of my bag and began taking my own pictures in reverent silence.

When I was done, I brushed the tears from my face, turned to D. and said, “Okay, what’s next?”  He smiled and replied, “You’ll see!”  To which I replied, “You’d better not make me cry again. Seriously, dude.”

Spruce Street - 2011. Photo by MAG

We stopped at the Open Door, a gastropub on John St., where we recounted teenage adventures we’d had and D. tested my knowledge of 80s music by betting me a dollar that I couldn’t name the group that was singing a song that was playing [“C’mon Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners].  As D. handed over the buck he’d bet, I said, “C’mon man, I was in high school in the 80s!” He laughed and we proceeded to enjoy a wonderful lunch. I had a delicious Grilled Chicken sandwich with roasted red peppers, brie, and basil aioli on a ciabatta roll, and a fantastic beer that D. recommended [the name escapes me now].

After lunch, we walked down and explored Pier 17 for a bit before D. had to get home.  He walked me back to the subway station and pointed me in the direction of the 14th Street stop where I was planning to meet some former students for drinks.

Once I’d located Nikki, Brad, JD, we all walked over to a bar on 14th Street [again, the name escapes me] where we sat at a table on the sidewalk and enjoyed catching up on all of the adventures they’d had since graduating from school.  It was a wonderful evening, and as I headed back to my hotel I was ready for a good night’s sleep.

And that was just the first day!

Stay tuned for more adventures!

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One Response to “Show Me”

  1. Rosaura Scheirman August 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    Wow! Thank you! I always wanted to write on my website something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my blog?

    Like

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