Monday April 4th, the day I was scheduled to fly back to San Jose via Texas. My flight to depart Newark Liberty International Airport was scheduled to leave at 8:15PM which gave me one last opportunity to visit Manhattan before heading back home. If nothing else I wanted to try another slice of New York pizza to make up for the inferior slice I had on Saturday.
For the past year or more I had been in contact with New York actor Carrie Wesolowski who had been in my two online productions webcast out of NYC. We made plans to get together Monday and hang out for a bit before I took the train to the airport, but first I had to take the train to Penn Station. I packed my bag, Nan drove me to the South Amboy train station one last time, I thanked her for her generosity and hospitality, and took one last train ride into Manhattan.
First order of business once I got out of Penn Station was to find a respectable slice of pizza. On 7th Ave just across the street was Rosa’s Pizza. I stopped into the compact storefront, looked at all the pizzas arrayed before me, and ordered a sausage and pepperoni. The man behind the counter asked if I wanted one or two. I said one, and he said, “One pie?”
“No, one slice,” I replied.
“All right,” he chuckled as he scooped up a slice with a pizza spatula and placed it in the oven to warm it up. Got to love the sense of humor here.
I sat at one of the tables and enjoyed the slice as I took in the scene of all the various people coming in and out on a Monday afternoon. A couple of burly, hard-hatted construction workers came in for lunch, they looked like they came straight out of central casting.
After I ate I went out to meet Carrie at the southwest corner of 7th Ave and 33rd St. She said she wanted to show me the High Line, and as we walked toward the west side she described the High Line but I didn’t quite understand it. Just past 10th Ave we came to a wide U shaped staircase and climbed up to a long platform that crossed over 10th and I finally got an idea of Carrie was talking about.
The High Line is a former New York Railroad spur line that fell out of use by 1980 and was partially demolished to make room for construction. What was left of the elevated railway was converted into a public park and runs about 1.5 miles/2.3 km along 10th Ave from 34th St down to Gansevoort Square.
Carrie and I walked south along the platform with other New Yorkers and tourists and one of the first things I noticed was how quiet it was compared to the rest of the city. We were able to hear ourselves talk as well all the other people on the promenade.
As this was my last day on the east coast I was toting my bag with me but I was so stimulated by my new surroundings that I barely noticed its weight as it hung off one of my shoulders (I switched shoulders every 15 or 20 minutes to shift the burden).
Carrie told me about a place along the High Line where artists and musicians gathered down by the Chelsea Market building so we headed in that direction. On the way we passed more people enjoying the day and talking amiably, a small performing area, and plant life everywhere in one of the most urbanized settings in the world.
As we approached the Chelsea Market Passage, Carrie noticed that there were hardly any artists and no musicians set up at their usual spot, an underpass behind the back end of the building. Carrie was a bit disappointed since seeing the artists and musicians was the point of the long walk along the High Line, but I didn’t mind, I was just happy to be walking around a section of NYC that was new to me.
We kept walking through the building as Carrie wondered that maybe all the artists and musicians will be setting up later in the day. I suggested that maybe nobody was there because it was Monday, the theater sabbath. On the other side of the building were wooden Chaise lounges for people to relax and enjoy the view of the Hudson River, a quiet spot to relax in the big city.
After the long walk we decided it was time to get a coffee. Carrie looked for coffee places on her phone but so many of them were permanently closed, victims of the pandemic. We finally found a place on 23rd St that was still open. They served Colombian coffee, and they not only knew the region where the coffee beans were grown but also the farmers who grew them. We sat out on a sidewalk table, chatted some more, and enjoyed the rest of the day.
My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:15PM so once it was past 5PM we figured it was time to leave. We walked down 23rd St then up 7th Ave and we finally parted just before Penn Station. I thanked Carrie for showing me around and hoped to be back in New York to see another play of mine performed. I entered Penn Station, bought my NJ Transit ticket, and boarded the next train. I was at the airport in no time. I checked my phone and got a text from United Airlines informing me that my 8:15 flight was postponed to 11:30. However I had a eight hour layover in Austin so it didn’t alter my plans, just more time to hang out in New Jersey. And I had such a good time on my new York trip that I didn’t even mind. Hope to be back again to see another of my plays performed in America’s theater capitol!
©2022 Robert Kirkendall