I met Gloria today. Gloria is a native New Yorker, retired lawyer, in her early seventies and lives in a high-rise coop building in west Chelsea. Kim had met her in a weekend resort and connected us. I happily had agreed to meet Gloria in her apartment – I love to see how other people live. She showed me around and gave me a feeling we would get along pretty well together.
First we walked to Chelsea Market. I had been there several times before, on this trip and on previous ones. But if someone takes you there you see it with different eyes. The market has been set up on the ground floor of the former Nabisco factory (National Biscuit Company – Oreo cookies were born there) and opened its gates in 1997. The industrial structure of the place has been kept and partly turned into art. A lot of little individual shops and food places – among them several bakeries – can be found there. We met a Cellist playing and selling his CDs. He plays Beatles Songs as well as Bach – with a little bit of Tabasco, as he said – and own pieces every Wednesday there. Gloria bought a CD. I was tempted to do so as well but thought of my luggage. We checked out a cupcake place, making cupcakes with well-known toy figures on them, a spice shop, a chocolate shop, a basket shop, a tiny shop selling Moroccan stuff and another good bookstore where I finally found a New York recipe book – with great photos. But it was weighing a ton. We had a yummy gelato. It was lunchtime, so the place was pretty busy.
Having left the market on 11th Avenue Gloria took me towards the waterside. Several piers have been turned into sports and fun areas there. We walked past the 5-story driving range, passed a marina and a skating ground where youngsters were practicing crazy movements and a carrousel having not only horses but all kinds of animals. At one of the piers an old lightboat and a fireboat were lying next to a ship like built bar.
The next pier had a time wheel as a piece of artwork. The next one is a helicopter port.
It is nice just to walk from pier to pier, enjoying the breeze. Gloria explained what parts of New Jersey are across Hudson River and invited me to visit a friend in Hoboken.
As we walked back she invited me as well to a poetry reading in a place on the Lower East Side where she and other poets will be reading poems about the Israel and Palestine conflict. Sure I will go there.
We agreed on meeting again, maybe in Harlem next time, and parted.
I walked east to check out some thrift shops on 17th street and buy some stuff at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Afterwards I felt like a beer and ended up in the Meatpacking District for an early dinner. I had Pork Sliders on Coleslaw at a place called Gaslight. Finally I went home, to get some homework done.
What I learned today:
The history of Chelsea Market – and Chelsea does have a nice waterfront as well.