Saturday, June 4, 2011

New York missive no 91 - West forties on a Saturday morning

JNH and I have had a peaceful routine the last few Saturday mornings. We take the N train to 49th Street and walk across to his swimming lesson at the top of the Skyline hotel in Hells Kitchen, on 49th and tenth. All being well, he falls asleep in his papoose after the second or third stop. That leaves me free to read on the train (currently Joseph O'Neill's "Netherland" - stunning) and free to amble and daydream on the walk three blocks west to Tenth Ave.

We pass the milling tourists at the northern end of Times Square in their pristine shorts and t-shirts ready for a productive day of seeing the sights, their eyes and cameras angled up at luminous billboards. We pass theatres – their old bodies clad in the new clothes of their latest show.

We pass brownstones and redstones that have seen better days, and the occasional gay man in sweatpants walking his dog. We see a few surviving fragments of the theatre district’s seedier past, like a peepshow squeezed between new restaurants on Ninth Ave. And today (walking down 47th) the Puerto Rican Travelling Theatre, the Actors' Temple - Congregation Ezrath Israel, a pet shop.

We emerge on 10th Ave by a small park whose plaque taught me today how Hell’s Kitchen apparently got its name. Click on the pic at the top of this post to read it.