The taxi trip up from Penn Station was a nice change. Usually we cross town to go up 3rd. Today, we turned left on 6th, passed the entrance to the Tonight Show, then Radio City Music Hall and then north into Central Park. We go by more pedi-cabs than horse carriages which is new to my recollection of the park. The fields and hollows of this sprawling urban oasis are just coming into vibrant,frothy green – give or a take a few dirt patches and some scraggly brush. But I do see the glorious hint of blooms here and there. Spring in New York City. Its most beautiful season.
Through the park, we go across the posh named avenues – Madison, Lexington, Park – to 3rd, make another left and head into Yorkville. One of hundreds of the city’s neighborhoods, this section of the Upper East Side feels homey, welcoming.
Yorkville abounds with tree lined streets and a general melange of life – a mix of low-rise, high-rise, shabbier shops, Duane Reeds and grocery stores, corner bodegas, elegant restaurants, pubs, families, seniors and more and more recent grads always migrating towards affordable NYC rents.
My cab exits are always awkward at best, downright slapstick funny most of the time. I’ve just about mastered the electronic payment screen, but still usually press a wrong button somewhere during the process or slide my card through the wrong way. And then how to get out of the car gracefully with a sweater, computer case and deceptively heavy roller bag? I end up a disheveled, red-faced heap in front of Margot’s building at 81st and 2nd.
The few blocks of 2nd Avenue I know best have changed just in the last six months since I was here. The Starbucks across from her apartment building has left with the windows papered announcing some brick oven pizzeria – coming soon. “Coming soon” around here can mean a year or more. My ever favorite Johnny Fox’s bar and grille across the way has closed. Damn. Loved that place in the good weather. They would open the front windows fully, floor to ceiling, letting in great light, a breeze and the music of 2nd avenue traffic.
It was also a great spot to sit for a couple hours waiting for Moo to get home, sipping on an adult frosty beverage, and playing Dog Poker. I made up Dog Poker. When I play alone, I write down all the dog breeds and colors that pass by until I have a hand of 5 and then see what I can get – two of a kind, three, four, maybe a full house, flush of like color pups or a straight of dogs in the same group (like hounds, toys, etc.). It’s much more fun to play with someone else when “deals” are the next dogs that come into view. 2nd Avenue is a Dog Poker mecca. You have no idea how many dogs live in this hood.
I couldn’t find a new place with street viewing to play poker. The first place I went into, I was totally ignored. I gave it a full 20 minutes. Sat at a table near some other patrons. Bar was semi full, with the bar keep lifting a chin to acknowledge I came in. Then nada. My typical, ever so not positive, thought process about why I’m being ignored: I’m too old. Too fat. Not dressed up enough. Look like a tourist. Not cool enough. Until finally, I was luck f-it, this is far from the only pub in Yorkville. So I found a much friendlier place that is light and bright and playing songs from the 90s that I actually knew the words to.
Today without a view to get my Dog Poker deals, I resort to writing my first blog post. I’m up here to visit my dear daughter – who is nicknamed Moo – and her new, beyond adorable, kitten Zissou. I am deathly allergic to cats, so this should be interesting. Moo and I also have a tendency to get allergic of each other after about two nights or three days in arms length of each other. So I have some precautions. For the kitten, I have a whole regime worked out involving allergy eye drops, allergy nose spray, allergy pills, (and the piece de resistance) a serious-ass medical face mask. So, I may be able to tolerate being in the same 500 square foot studio apartment with the darling Zissou. If not, we have the backup boutique Franklin Hotel a few blocks away. Same thing for Moo. If by Friday night she becomes allergic to my endless questions (usually involving what she ate for lunch), snoring, bad shoe choice (she is going to HATE my turquoise Sketchers), then I can retreat to the Franklin for some much needed détente.
Yes, I am here to see Moo and that adorable kitten, but I also have my first real business meeting as an independent marketing and sales consultant. Less than a month ago, I left my corporate job, and I’m trying something new. And scary. And exhilarating. And unknown. Change of the highest order.
Tomorrow I head out on Long Island (an hour train ride) to meet with a mobile app developer who is not making my life as a new marketing and sales consultant easy. The app I have them working on has been dragging along prior to my departure from my full time job, and as soon as I took on completing it as a contractor, the complexity of finishing it up has quadrupled due to the end client’s new requirements. It will take all my reasoning, charm, bull-headedness and dangling of final payments to get through this next hurdle. I just need this little square on my iPone to work by July. Turns out getting that little square to process over 100 ticket fare types and show coherent bus schedules is just a little bit tricky.
Looking forward to it? Heck yes. A different type of Dog Poker, a game, this one with customer service, money and reputations at stake. Mostly my own. This is my first chance of finding out if I can actually make my new company, NoLimbo Marketing, have some umph.
It’s spring in New York. Things have changed, but that means new things to try, new dynamics to explore. Some may work. Some I may need to retreat from. But in the end, I just have to remember, I’ve never been the losing type, and a pair of Yorkies may be just around the corner.