Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's a hell of a town

Using the bathroom in the shopping center underneath The Plaza Hotel is a singular experience. Everyone is there.

Women in ball gowns touching up their makeup before heading upstairs to the Palm Court for a party.

A tourist bouncing a baby on her knee while she waits for her friend to come out of the stall.

A woman in designer jeans who probably shops at The Plaza all the time.

On the way out, two kids trot by, moms in tow carrying their scooters. I imagine they stopped in for an overpriced snack and a dose of air conditioning while they were scooting in Central Park. Maybe a cup of cappuccino for the moms.

And then there's me. I'm dressed for the theater in a skirt and blazer. Hopper and I got to New York early because we just headed over after dropping Boo off with my parents. We wound up eating at one of those soup and salad joints (Why do I love places that make your salad in front of you so much? It's something about the way they toss the salad with the dressing, I think.) That didn't take very long, so we just started walking.

The Shops at The Plaza is its own special phenomenon. It's hard to imagine anyone actually shopping there, but then I guess people who pay $730/night to stay in a hotel might imagine things differently. I saw a leather dog covered in the logo of some probably-famous purse manufacturer. Who buys things like that?

Then there's a food court (I guess you'd call it) which is where the bathrooms are, and where you find a whole collection of people that is positively fascinating. Here, hotel guests and party-goers sit beside shoppers, tourists, and New Yorkers who have a nose for public spaces that are cooled in summer, heated in winter, and will let you sit for as long as you like, provided you aren't bothering anyone.

I never wanted to live in New York, even when I lived there. It's too loud for me, too busy. It's the city that never sleeps, and I love to sleep. But it's a great place to visit.

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