October 28, 2005

Don't really know what to title this

I had a meeting that kept me in the city last night. As if I wasn't already busy enough, I also chair a committee that handles interview requests for applicants to my undergraduate university. You want an interview to said institution and you live in NYC? You come through my office. We had our annual admissions office meeting last night with the admissions staff member who handles our area.

I found myself, in the twilight (sounds better in Norwegian, by the way: skumring), taking a bus up Madison Avenue to the upper reaches of the 70's. It has indeed been a long time since I have done this. I used to live in the lower 70's over by Second Avenue (by still my beating heart, I know you miss it). That was a less swank part of the Upper East Side ("UES"). The swank bits are really closer to the Park. Anyway, I like bussing up Madison. I much prefer it to the subway. There are windows you can look out, you can watch people, you can look at the everchanging array of shops (they change, mutate, go out of business, reinvent themselves with startling regularity).

I was struck by how interesting the UES felt, now that I no longer live there or go there on a daily basis. There was something about it that was odd. It took me a while to put my finger on it but I think I figured it out. It was money and all that entails. Let me elaborate. There are many, many stores on the gold coast part of the UES. Many restaurants, many service establishments (spas, etc.). They are filled with people who are there to help you, to make you feel better, to fill your requests, to respond to your needs (real or perceived, doesn't matter), to help you figure out what needs you haven't realized are unmet yet, and to just cater to you. That gives off a vibe. It is sort of smothering to pass through it, even if, like me, you don't have the bank account to be part of the target audience for this horde of service people. But still, a vibe. A comforting vibe that suggests that you never have to leave this cocoon of the UES, that all of your desires can be fulfilled with a smile here, that you will be taken care of. Money buys that. Money makes it feel that way. Money drives the UES.

You don't get that feeling in the suburbs where I live now.

I miss living on the UES but I'm kind of happy I don't live among the perpetually catered to, the always self-satisfied anymore.

Posted by Random Penseur at October 28, 2005 10:21 AM | TrackBack

'Round here, we call them "Plastic People."

And you're the farthest thing from plastic I can imagine.

(Interesting, no? Since we haven't actually "met" and all? Heh.)

Posted by: Margi at October 28, 2005 11:44 AM

Interesting observations and commentary (as usual), but I'm sure when you walk the door of your home in the evening the *vibe* of love and warmth washes all other thoughts away.

; )

Posted by: Christina at October 28, 2005 02:27 PM

I quite miss the Upper East Side myself, though I have never had the satisfaction of living there. Usually it just came down to drinking there, lounging around with friends who lived there, or (during daylight hours) just wandering around.

Ah, to be in New York!

Posted by: Andrew Cusack at October 31, 2005 06:47 PM
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