If I don't drive around the park,
I'm pretty sure to make my mark.
If I'm in bed each night by ten,
I may get back my looks again.
If I abstain from fun and such,
I'll probably amount to much;
But I shall stay the way I am.
Because I do not give a damn.
There is something exhilarating about being alone in a strange place with no deeds to do, no promises to keep. I wandered happily and without purpose. At Bryant Park they were setting up for Fashion Week. In the Garment District I luxuriated in richly colored textiles and piles of beads; in the Jewelry Mart, I eyed mounds of gold and polished gems with a benignly covetous gleam. With Jack at the 'Jack of Diamonds' counter, I negotiated my little golden apple down to $155. And still I did not buy.
Down on Canal Street, I drank in the boho pleasures of paint, paper, ink and such at the massive Pearl Art Supplies (thanks for the tip Mz Shoes!) and envied the clever young artists just beginning to explore their craft. On the streets, music blared and people of every shape, size and color moved restlessly among narrow stalls strewn with purses, dresses, bangles and beads, chatting on cell phones and calling to friends.
Heading back, I stumbled upon St. Patrick's Cathedral, where they were checking bags for contraband before letting anyone enter the nave. I never found out what they were searching for (sins, I thought) and stood back, admiring the soaring arches and stained glass. I left feeling only vaguely guilty, my sins intact.
Somewhere along the way, I turned a corner and ran into Ms. Dorothy yet again, at the lovely old Algonquin Hotel. I was greeted by an inquisitive cat named Matilda, whose name (as 'Resident Feline') is on the card presented to me by the genial bear of a doorman. I would liked to have lingered in that inviting, ghost-filled bar, and today I kind of wish I had. But it was getting dark and colder yet, and I had one more stop before I met the girls for dinner.
Central Park is an oasis in this bustling town, and beautiful in it's winter shades of mauve and gray. I stayed until I could take the cold no more, and headed back for the welcoming warmth of the hotel.
My land is bare of chattering folk;
The clouds are low along the ridges,
And sweet's the air with curly smoke
From burning all my bridges.