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.
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.
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.