Day 246: Every Day is Laundry Day

A woman uses a pole to hang her clothes on an overhead pole.

A woman uses a pole to hang her clothes on an overhead pole.

Apartments in China can be small and appliances such as clothes dryers rare, so it is quite common to see clothing hanging outside to dry. In fact, I had to argue with our Ayi when we first got here because she wanted to hang our clothes out on the balcony; she refused to use the clothes dryer, saying she trusted God but not the machine. I insisted that the machine had to be used (even though it doesn’t vent to the outside–but, hey, China!) and eventually she acquiesced. But I understand her perspective, As a kid growing up in Queens, NYC every backyard had a clothesline strung across it and laundry day was filled with the sound of clothes flapping in the breeze. Here in Shanghai space is at a premium so by necessity any horizontal pole, bat, or wire can become a suitable “clothesline”.

Day 124: Chelsea Market

A vendor sits in his shop at Artists & Fleas, in the Chelsea Market

A vendor sits in his shop at Artists & Fleas, in the Chelsea Market

Sunday, last morning in NYC, afternoon flight to Boise, Idaho via Salt Lake City. Time to meet my granddaughter, but first, a trip to the Chelsea market to look for another pair of vintage eyeglass frames. Last year, I bought a pair of round, plastic frames, tortoise colored on the front with tubular, black temples and I get more compliments on them than any other eyewear I’ve ever owned. One of a kinds. Unfortunately, the vintage eyeglass vendor is not there, replaced by someone selling vinyl records–a noble pursuit for sure, but not helpful to me– but I did find someone selling resin eyeglass frames, lightweight and two-toned, that I liked better than anything I saw at Warby Parker. I’ll get lenses installed when I return to Shanghai.
The Chelsea Market is a favorite spot to eat and shop, but this spot, ‘artists & Fleas” in the far back corner of the market (10th Avenue & 15th Street) is the best collection of unique clothes, jewelry and accessories in the whole place. — with Melinda Hoyt at Chelsea Market.

Day 121: Bocce in the Park

Competitors watch the final balls being tossed in a Bocce match

Competitors watch the final balls being tossed in a Bocce match

Located behind the main branch of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park was once barren, a drug-filled wasteland (don’t ask me how I know, I just do) of questionable value, but today it is a vibrant public park complete with a free reading library, carousel ride, espresso shops and food booths; for entertainment there is table tennis, chess games and bocce courts. Bocce, once the pastime of elderly, Italian men, is now played by New Yorkers young and old (and rather than scoring points there might be a bit of cash changing hands during the match). Yesterday’s cold, torrential rains (10th heaviest rainfall in NYC history) gave way to sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s. It was a glorious day!

Day 118: Taxi!

Taxi line up on Lexington Avenue during lunch time.

Taxi line up on Lexington Avenue during lunch time.

Anyone who has visited NYC recently will know that many taxi drivers are of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage. Ethnic groups gravitating toward specific jobs and industries is a common pattern that has repeated itself for generations in an immigrant center like New York. Back in the day the Irish came through Ellis Island and became cops in; during my youth every fruit store within 10 miles of my house was owned by an Italian family, 15 years later each of those stores were owned by a Korean family. When I drove a cab during my time in college, the taxi industry was filling up with Russian Jews who could finally leave Russia, but were unable to get an Israeli visa. No surprise, someone immigrated, then helps their family and friends do the same thing; helps them get a job, or start a business.
Today, I was walking down Lexington Avenue when I passed an block filled with Indian and Pakistani restaurants and an endless line of yellow cabs. Hint: If you ever need a cab, walk to Lexington between 27th and 28th Streets.