Friday, October 9, 2009

Just Sitting

Sometimes it's nice just to sit. One new favorite place to do that is our very own terrace that extends from the Upper West Side apartment we recently moved into. It perches just above a row of trees and sits maybe 500 feet from a line of skyscrapers, so you get that sense of being in the city without feeling too closed in. And it's situated far enough away from the street, so that the sound of children playing on a nearby playground during the day and crickets humming in the evening actually drown out most of the traffic noise.

I've noticed that one favorite sitting place for some people, though I haven't really tried it myself, are the center islands that separate the north and south routes on Broadway above Columbus Circle. Even though the traffic continues to rush by, the benches placed on these dividers frequently attract folks who just want to sit. No reading for them usually. Just a little sitting and perhaps some chatting with fellow sitters. These places seem to draw a lot of regulars who enjoy sitting right at the center of all the action.

Some of my other favorite sitters are the booksellers who display their merchandise on folding tables all along Broadway and who spend most of their day sitting, often skimming through the books they are trying to sell, looking as interested in them as possible, in hopes of hustling up another sale or two. Other noteworthy sitters are the stoop sitters. New York is just covered with stoops, those steep staircases that were originally used to provide direct access to the parlors of many well-to-do homes. Today, as in earlier times, people love to sit on these stoops, especially in the nice weather. You see them all the time, sometimes alone in a kind of quiet reflection, other times amiably sharing the latest news with their neighbors.

And, say, speaking of nice weather, perhaps my favorite sitters of all gravitate to the tables and chairs that seem to appear almost magically outside thousands of restaurants in Manhattan every time the weather is warm and the rain holds off. New Yorkers love to eat outdoors; sometimes you think they like it more than anything else. And there are few things as festive as outside diners. They always appear to be having so much fun. As you stroll past the hundredth area where smiling, animated, satisfied diners gather, you can't help thinking maybe I should be doing that, too. A thought that restauranteurs all over the city, I am sure, happily plant in many a pedestrian's brain, which, all by itself, nicely explains the enduring prevalence of outdoor dining in New York.

1 comment:

  1. Of course, you can't see the grins of those who, like yourself, find the greatest happiness on their own, personal, outdoor spots. Enjoy your terrace, dear Third, I know you will.