After one key meeting fell through, I had the chance to poke around the city on my own. Other than being the world’s worst at hailing a cab, I enjoyed a lovely day in the city full of cupcakes, friends, and shelter pets.
My early morning coffee date with a fellow writer got cancelled when problems with a bus from her home in Queens nixed her trip into Manhattan. So, I set out to see some of the things around my hotel, including the Chrysler Building and Grand Central (the big train station).
This fresh food market in the mall-like area of Grand Central reminded me of the food section inside Harrods, the huge, famous, luxury department store in London.
It took me a few blocks, but I found a spot where I could grab a snack and sit near a big window and watch the people. It’s quite funny to guess who lives there, who does not, etc. Pretty much you can tell by:
- How they walk
- What (if anything) they look at
- If they have a camera
- What kind of shoes they are wearing
- If the women (in particular) look as if they’ve had plastic surgery (in some cases … lots of it)
So, I watched people, downed some much-needed coffee, and snarfed on a “homemade ding-dong.” Remember those from childhood? Well, the homemade ones are just too-too good.
I’m Lost, Can You Help Me
I’m happy to report that I never had to utter those words, but get this … someone asked me for help. I must have looked either:
- Like I lived there
… because a 20-year-old guy who grew up in Brooklyn asked ME for directions on the street when I was waiting for a friend to come down from her office for lunch.
I was just standing on the corner of East 45th Street and Lexington, sending a text message to alert my friend I had arrived, and this kid asked me for help.
I was, of course, not much help at all, but I promised him my friend would be. However, by the time we met up, he had gotten someone on the phone to give him directions.
Still … very funny. After dressing as instructed by a friend who lived in London, I had British people asking me for directions, when I was there in 2001, so I must be better at blending into an urban location than I think.
City Shelter Pets
My pal and I had a terrific Japanese fast-food lunch, then I made my way uptown to the ASPCA shelter. I won’t bore you with my lame attempt at getting a cab on a Friday afternoon, but suffice it to say I was VERY LATE for my appointment to tour the shelter.
I was curious how exactly you house dogs, in particular, in such an urban setting. It turns out that while they do rescue and adopt dogs … some 80% of their adoptions are cats. Many buildings either forbid dogs or set weight restrictions (usually 25 pounds).
Coming from the West, where big dogs rule, that surprised me quite a bit. Most shelters I know have a MUCH harder time placing cats.
The ASPCA shelter has this really neat “window display” of adoptable cats, right at street level, so that people walking by can see them. They’ve figured out that putting fewer cats out there increases adoptions vs putting a bunch in the window.
We watched this one kitty just having a grand old time playing with a toy by himself. Hard to resist for sure.
I got to visit their onsite veterinary hospital, which is busy, busy, busy and will soon have much more space when an expansion project on another floor is done.
I got to see their individual dog rooms (not kennels). I got to see where the cats stay, including kittens who are TOO young to be adopted. We’re talking teeny, tiny kitties. A whole room of them. *sigh*
I really, really wanted to take a picture of what I’m guessing was a 2-pound Chihuahua. She wore a pink t-shirt with sequins on it. One of the veterinary technicians in the hospital was carrying her around.
Alas, she had been brought in as part of a Humane Law Enforcement case, so I could not. So, enjoy instead this picture of Lilly sporting her new ASPCA bandana.
Amazing Writers, My Friends
My one entirely-for-fun day in NYC ended with a terrific dinner with several writer / blogger friends. I stand in awe of their success, their generosity, their non-stop advice and support. I’ve known them for years, but only online, so it was great to finally meet some of my mentors in person.
We got to sit outside on the patio on a warm-ish Friday night. A hoard of men woofed at us as we walked back to the hotel. Whether that was meant as a compliment or a slight, we did not know.
Here are links so that you can check out their blogs: