RIP, Rizzoli

New York, I love you. But not today.

afterlight

I just learned that my favorite bookstore—Rizzoli on 57th Street—is shutting down. The 95-year-old townhouse will be demolished. In its stead will be some shiny, towering skyscraper. And I am pissed.

Here’s the thing: You, as a city, are incredibly irritating and maddening. You drive a girl to drink (overpriced margaritas, usually) with your millions of people and crowded blocks and subways and pollution. But your magic lies in the cozy, charming places that embrace us, that make us feel sheltered and safe and a little less alone.

Rizzoli was one of those places for me. As you know by now, I am a book girl. So when I was a New York newbie, with a boyfriend in grad school and friends far away in different cities, I would escape to Rizzoli’s third floor and peruse the books I couldn’t afford (because of your sky-high rent, of course). After a solo day at the movies and treating myself to lunch, Rizzoli is where I’d end up, flipping through biographies of women I aspired to be like. When I was heading to Paris for the first time, Rizzoli is where I went in search of travel guides. And in that bookstore, beneath its grand chandeliers, is where my Allende obsession continued and my Fitzgerald infatuation began.

Now, I walk by that store every day on my way to work, often with my nose pressed against the window admiring the latest displays. And never mind the fact that we’re losing a historic bookstore: We’re saying farewell to one of your city’s architectural landmarks, a century-old townhouse that got its start as a piano showroom. It literally pains me to imagine that little gem demolished and replaced by scaffolding and yet another West 57th Street glass building.

Tonight, I said goodbye, and tomorrow, I plan to join the rally that will, to put it nicely, give you and your businessmen the middle finger. I know that these things happen, and I never imagined I’d be so attached to a place, but here I am. And here’s hoping I’ll find another great escape just as perfect.

 

She’s Just Not That Into You

image courtesy of gmanews.tv

As women, we always hear complaints from men that we gossip too much and think too much into every little thing. And for most of my life, I believed this; that when women get together, we gossip and talk over boy problems waayy more than guys do when they get with their friends. But living in New York and riding the subway has proven this myth wrong, simply by paying attention to the male conversations around me.

Prime example: I hop on the F train on my way to work the other morning and walk right into the middle of an animated conversation between two men—one extremely tall, one reaallyyy short—who are probably in their early 20s. The taller of the two is explaining how this girl he is dating has a new iPhone app that allows you to block certain callers in your address book.

And…SCENE.

Tall guy: So we were talking on the phone, and everything seemed cool, and then she said she’d call me back. After a couple of hours, she never called me back, so I called her back. It kept going to voicemail every time I called. I called three, four, five times, and then I thought…

Short guy: *Throws hands in the air to accentuate his aha moment* The iPhone app! She blocked you!

Tall guy: Yea man, I was thinking if she’s blocking other people with this app, maybe she’s blocking me too…but then she finally called me back and said her phone had died.

Short guy: Hmmm. Typical excuse. I don’t know, man. That seems suspect. Maybe she was with another dude.

Tall guy: That’s not even the worst part. Then I went to the movies with Rob the next day, and I saw her there, right there at 34th Street, man. I didn’t think she saw me, so I acted like I didn’t see her. But then she texted me once the movie started like, “so, you can’t say hi?”

Short guy: Ok, ok, ok, so maybe she IS feeling you…I mean, why else would she have texted you? But maybe she texted you, just to make sure you are still interested in her, even if she’s not that interested in you. Or maybe…

And…END SCENE (well, the conversation continued, this is just where I had to get off at my stop.)

I couldn’t help but laugh as I walked out of the train station. If I closed my eyes and imagined their voices at a slightly higher pitch, it could definitely have been a conversation with me and a girlfriend, dissecting whether the most recent guy she’s talking to is really interested in her or not. So people who claim that the romantic advice and all the “He’s Just Not That Into You” stuff is for females only? Well, I’m starting to think that maybe men could learn a thing or two themselves.

An F Train Love Connection

Today when I hopped on the F train on my way home from work, it was packed, as usual. I found myself sandwiched between a gorgeous, tall Asian woman and a short, pudgy White guy. Despite the fact that I was smack dab in the middle of them, the man, with his wrinkled suit and graying temples, was intent on making a love connection with this young woman behind me, who I swear could/should be a model.

You can probably already see where this is going. For the next 10 minutes of my train ride, I felt like I was in the middle of a terrible romantic comedy. Let me do a dramatic reenactment for you. And…

SCENE.

Man: So, are you a native New Yorker? A tourist?

Woman (with hesitancy): I live here…

Man (in the corniest, I’m-trying-to-hit-on-you-on-the-subway-during-commuter-hour voice): Well that’s just fantastic! I live here too, ya know. I actually live in Queens because I like the city, but the boroughs are just so magical! So where do you work?

Woman: I work near Rockefeller Center.

Man: Really! What a great area! So, does your boyfriend take you up to the Top of the Rock?

Me: *Loud sigh*

Woman: Uhhh…well, I’ve been there many times.

Man: I’m coming from midtown from a sales conference. It’s actually really interesting because…*this is where I, and I’m pretty sure the should-be-model as well, tuned out*

Woman (looks up as the train slows down): Well this is my stop. It was nice meeting you…*starts scooting through the packed car toward the door*

Man (yelling): WAIT! *Scrambles through his wallet frantically, looking for a business card as sweat drips down his forehead*

Woman (behind her shoulder as she walks through the doors): Really, it’s ok…

Man (yelling again): NO! *Throws his entire body between the doors to stop them from closing, and reaches out as if he might sprout Go-Go-Gadget arms, business card in hand, looking desperately at the woman. She gingerly takes it from his hand and walks away, looking slightly frightened. The man pulls himself back into the car and wipes his brow.

Man (to the innocent bystander standing next to him): Wow. What a hottie. And she was totally into me!

END SCENE.

This mini-drama was enough to have me cracking up my entire walk home. For various reasons. I can give no commentary on this scene other than: Oh, MEN!