Only In New York
It must have something to do with the fact I live half an hour away from one of the coolest, most heavily touristic cities in the world, but ever since I moved here, I have had little reason to actually go out and make new friends because I have so many people from Oregon coming out and visiting. They’re not actually visiting me, they’re visiting the city, but my aforementioned proximity to the city makes it feel like they’re visiting me.
This past weekend, B, a friend of mine from college (and high school…and middle school… and elementary school… basically, I’ve known her always) was in town. B knows quite a few people in the city, so we made plans to try to meet up on Sunday.
I had been meaning to buy new pants, but I decided to avoid the Garden State Plaza or trekking down the Turnpike to the Jersey Gardens outlet mall (mostly because with all “affordable” prices, I knew I would go above and beyond my “I just need pants” goal). Instead, I hopped on NJ Transit and headed into The City.
More specifically, I headed to Soho. Land of handbags, high heels and teenybopper Gossip Girls who have too much time and money on their hands.
As soon as I stepped out of the subway station and my cell phone reconnected with society, I called B. She didn’t answer, so I left a message telling her I was in Soho, free all day and to call me back. After popping into Aveda to buy shampoo (okay, okay, it wasn’t on the list, but it was only $14 and it was the only other thing I bought!), browsing the boutiques and sidewalk vendors before hitting up Anne Taylor’s for my pants (love Anne’s – just a tad over my price limit, but still so nice…), I gave B another call. No answer, but I thought maybe she was still with her friend from upstate and didn’t hear the phone.
It was late afternoon, and I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch and with all the walking around, I was famished. The sales clerk told me there was a cafe right across the street but when I stepped back onto Broadway, all I could see across the street was Scholastic’s office building. Right… Somehow I don’t think they sell mochas.
Meandering seemed the most viable option so I did some more browsing, accidentally landing in the East Village’s Italian festival but managed to maneuver myself around the throngs of people without getting crushed. After about eight blocks of walking, I was starting to get that feeling.
You know the one.
The one that says, “Hm. Food is sounding really really good right about now.”
But all I could see were restaurants. I didn’t want a sit down dinner. I just wanted a snack.
So I kept walking. I realize I probably should have sat down, tested and drank the juice that was sitting quietly in my messenger bag, but no.
I wanted a cafe and dammit, I was going to find one.
After another three blocks, I eventually found a sign that look promising because, hey, it had the word “cafe” in the title. Most of what they had in the display case was heavy, fat-ladened cookies, pastries and tartes. Yummy, but not exactly what I wanted. I turned around to go back outside, but the “feeling” convinced me to not be an idiot and just sit down and eat something. I ordered a hazelnut coffee and a biscotti. Contemplated going outside to eat. Decided against it, as there was only a bench to sit at. No tables.
Where to sit, where to sit, I thought. Oh, a booth. I like booths.
I walked towards the back of the cafe, to the one seat in the place that was a booth.
I set my coffee and biscotti down, tossed my messenger bag on the seat, started to turn and sit down and I saw…
Sitting at the table directly across from me.
Stunned. Absolutely stunned.
B tells me she never ended up listening to my message, so she had no idea I was anywhere near Soho.
8 million people in New York City proper.
At least two dozen restaurants just within our five block radius (including a Starbucks right across the street).
Two friends manage to find each other with absolutely no communication.
And we’re not even from here!