When Manhattan Stood Still

When Manhattan Stood Still

New York, especially Manhattan, has a bad reputation.  People think that everyone is cold and self centered as they rush around barely making eye contact with others.  Maybe it’s because I have lived my entire life in New York…  Maybe it’s because I was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy… I know knew Yorkers are the complete opposite.IMG_2146

Last Monday my friend and I drove to the city.  It took us years of trying to coordinate our schedules, but we finally made it to our favorite author’s book signing at Barnes and Noble in Tribeca.  To say I was excited to meet Jen Lancaster would be an understatement.

I have read every single book she has written multiple times. I admire her sharp wit and incredible talent. Until I read Bitter is the New Black I had no idea what a blog or a memoir was. That book was responsible for me putting my dreams into actions. I started Feeling Beachie weeks after reading Bitter and started writing Dangled Carat soon after.  So in many ways, Jen changed my life.IMG_2141

And I managed to tell her this. Of course I was more tongue tied with her than I was when I met Robert De Niro, but that is another story…

Look at this picture my friend snapped. I was hanging on Jen’s every word. I was so awestruck I looked like I discovered a display of Cadbury Cream Eggs on Memorial Day weekend.


When we left the bookstore, needless to say I was on a high.  But my friend and I were only able to walk one block, to the corner of the West Side Highway.  Police were in full force.  Eight officers per corner to be exact.  The West Side Highway was closed off in both directions.  Low flying helicopters were hovering overhead. President Obama was in town and he and his motorcade were fast approaching.

On occasion, the police gave the quickly growing and diverse crowd permission to cross the street.  But only a few people budged. Everyone one else was firmly rooted to their spot on the sidewalk.  Conversations started among the bystanders. People began to laugh and joke.  Cellphones were removed from bags and were aimed down the road.


“They’re starting now,” A young policewoman called out to the crowd, and all of our eyes were focused on the road.  No one spoke. Everyone was in awe at the little bit of history we were watching.  First came motorcycles. Then police cars.  Then President in his specially equipped limousine.  The crowd waved and cheered. And then we watched the rest of the progression, an ambulance, more police cars, and finally more motorcycle cops picked up the rear.

In a blink of an eye, the police quickly removed the barricades.  Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists were once again free to move about.  But my friend and I, along the others on the corner, lingered just a few moments as we remembered when Manhattan stood still.

24 thoughts on “When Manhattan Stood Still

  1. My niece works in Manhattan. She has quite an elite job with a well-known designer in the fashion design industry. Really. She works hard at it and goes to all kinds of functions there.

    Anyway, cool that you got to meet a favourite author. That is always fun and impressive.

    Having the President come through…not so much. Not impressed.

    1. McGuffy Ann – I was very impressed by how organized the motorcade was… It is crazy how much work must have gone into it…

  2. My human LOVES New York and says the people there are WAY more upfront, honest and helpful than they are in Los Angeles. She is a little disappointed President Obama has never come to her part of LA – after all, our college here IS his alma mater, or one of them. But then, she is also relieved that she hasn’t had to deal with the blockades and traffic!

    1. Summer – I think your human has a point (although I have never been to LA). I think New Yorkers are pretty real. Sometimes that realness seems cold, but it is honest

  3. I remember this happening a few years back, as I was walking from my office to Grand Central Terminal. It’s eerie to see vehicles or pedestrians paused — if even just for a few minutes — on the streets of NYC!

  4. I remember being in a Jack in the Box near the interstate, watching a Presidential motorcade pass on the highway. I just wish I could remember which President it was!

    1. William – last one deleted (I hate when that happens). I was amazed at how organized it was… so much planning. I felt bad for the police…

  5. This was a great post! First, how fun that you were able to meet Jen Lancaster. Second I LOVE New York and agree with you about all the misperceptions. And third, that’s a cool story about the president. Being from Chicago, we have witnessed the motorcades – actually it’s usually series of helicopters that takes him from O’Hare to his house in Hyde Park. They often fly over my office so I know when he is in town.

    1. Pip – I am so happy I finally got to meet her. It’s funny how many people really don’t know what NYC is like (even people who live here). The helicopters over your office probably get annoying 🙂

    1. Ellen – I love her memoirs too (and enjoy her fiction although not as much). I am about 1/2 done with her new book and I love it!

  6. NYC was one of the best trips I have ever taken!! I can’t imagine anyone not loving visiting this great city. and I never encountered one rude person. In fact, many were so helpful because I was Canadian tourist.

    I remember when the Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Diana all came to my home town one summer. You have NOT seen security until you have seen that detail…. goodness gracious. And yet, my step dad at the time actually got close enough to have a lovely conversation with Prince Phillip and Prince Charles. They were all military men, so they had that in common. It was quite something to witness though.

    1. Rorybore – what??? OMG, how exciting for your step dad! I love NYC too. I also find people so helpful. Even though I live here, I don’t spend much time in NYC. Recently I was there and needed to take a subway. I wasn’t 100% sure of the line. A girl helped me and she was AMAZING. Blew my mind!

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