Oh, New York

Early September is a lousy time to leave New York; it’s the best time in the city.

smoke2A warm, dry breeze makes the air over Irving Place feel like the Santa Monica mountains. The mild sun leaves people no choice but to smile like Californians. The city’s fountains are still warm enough for kids to play in, while dogs lounge on the toasty grass of Union Square.

If you ever want to run –or walk or bike or just be– in New York, this is the time. And yet, I leave.

But not before I did some of my favorite things. I heard fantastic jazz with dear ones in Smoke Jazz and the Jazz Standard. Both places are cheaper, better, quieter smoke1than the big names in New York jazz. Both serve great food and affordable drinks. Both have amazing line-ups and deserve your support.

I have also been running gently again, as my Achilles began to heal while my non-running anxiety threatened to peak. Last weekend I joined the weekend masses in lovely Prospect Park, Brooklyn. A few days ago I met a friend for a smooth 5-miler along the cool water on the west side.

Damn, it is a marvelous city. Should I be leaving? Then, during lunch at a classy Italian place I hadn’t known yet –Maialino at Gramercy Park– a friend reminded me of the dark side. She promised to send pictures of wet snow and rain and scowling faces and broken umbrellas; she said she would describe to me the smells of trash and piss.

The great Dr. Lonnie Smith

The great Dr. Lonnie Smith

Still, I’ll miss New York. I’ll be back. But first, let’s see what Los Angeles is really all about for a writer who runs.

(Here is my final New York piece in the Volkskrant, a good bye after eleven years with the paper.)
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