May 1999

New York

A few years ago, I enjoyed a week on the East Coast. As a life-long Northern Californian, it was a different place. Rain in the Summer? That was a shock. I took the red-eye from San Francisco to JFK. While the shuttle bus toured the terminals of JFK on its way to long-term parking, and beyond, to the Howard Beach subway station, I saw the most iconic terminal at JFK.

As we continued our tour, eclipsing the TWA Terminal was this view of a taxiing Concorde, eithter arriving or departing for Paris. I'd seen one before, as a child, when my family traveled through Heathrow Airport in London.

I was out for a friend's graduation from grad school, so I was staying on a couch in an apartment near the home of the Ghostbusters, Columbia University, on the Upper West Side. It was a long ride on the subway in from the airport, with the train filling and then emptying along the way, but I didn't need to transfer. Good, because I was living on my wits at this point, after the redeye from San Francisco.

One morning, I started off from my friend's place and headed south on Broadway. My goal was Battery Park, but just a few blocks along, I had an intense "Yes, I am a tourist" moment. I was in TV land, not to mention at the inspiration for Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner. Just the first landmark in a day of landmarks.