by J.D. Rhoades
Yeah, New York…
It was an
adult portion. It was an adult dose. So it took a couple of trips to get into
it. You just go in the first time and you get your ass kicked and you take off.
As soon as it heals up, you come back and you try it again. Eventually, you
fall right in love with it.
-Levon Helm, The Last
there are quite a few people, including my wife, who’d dispute that. But I did
not get my ass kicked by New York at Thrillerfest. Nor did I fall right in love with it. What it was more like
was a really awesome first date, and you know you’re going to call for another
one, but there’s a little hesitation because this girl is different from anyone you’ve dated before.
I’ve been to a number of cities promoting my books: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Omaha, even Boise, and they’ve all
surprised me each in their own way. I’d
never made it to New York,
though. Odd, because that’s where my agent and publisher are. But I confess, I
had engaged in a bit of snobbery regarding the Big Apple. I tended to roll my
eyes whenever someone started waxing lyrical about the place (See “City, Sex in
the”). Oh, please, I thought. It’s too
crowded. It’s dirty. It’s hellishly expensive, and the people are all jerks.
Well, yes. But then again, no. Crowded? Yep. Expensive? Oh
God, yes. Dirty? Well, I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to walking past
garbage bags stacked higher than my head in a pile that runs for twenty
feet down the sidewalk, a sight which I saw many times. But other than that, the place was clean
enough. I’ve seen worse in South Carolina. And the people were very cool, beginning with the guy at the airport
who stopped ranting about his late ride long enough to chat about his
restaurant in Long Island, right through to the people who didn’t bat an eye
when a crowd of laughing lunatics took over half of their tiny karaoke bar at 2
o’clock in the morning.
something about the place that sucks you in, that draws you out into the street
to see what’s going on. And there’s
always something going on. I spent a goodly portion of the trip just "gone
walkabout," ambling through the streets, from the historic Flatiron Building to
the Empire State, to the Temple of the Book (aka the amazing New York Public
Library) to the capital of deliriously tacky sensory overload, namely Times
Square. And that wasn’t half of the stuff I wanted to see.
And let me tell you…if I wasn’t careful, I could
ruin my health in New York in pretty short order. City that doesn’t sleep? It barely slows down. We’re
talking maybe eight hours of sleep total over three days.
So yeah. An adult portion indeed. (And thanks to Chris
Everheart for the quote). I’ll definitely be back. Because the last time I had
a first date that awesome, I married her.
So, Murderati, Hellions, Thrillerfest Attendees, Friends,
Romans, countrymen…what’s your take on the Big Apple?