Visiting New York always makes me feel like an impostor. Unlike everyone else here, I’m neither gritty nor suave. Yesterday, the subway broke down deep in the Bronx, and I looked so hapless on the street outside the station that a woman drove me over the Henry Hudson bridge to the A train, where a young stocking clerk felt obliged to tell me how to treat subway “predators” who “roam the A” (“like children, like people who are under you… because they ARE under you”).
Today started at a trendy Soho restaurant where all the media and publishing giants, in pink ties and striped shirts, spend an hour with the New York Times over a pastry. I had been waiting 20 minutes for a meeting. Two impeccably dressed men were shown to the adjoining table, and I perked up for some high-powered gossip. They surveyed the situation and murmured in French that they wanted to be moved. Of course, the waiter understood them too.
Somehow I didn’t feel put down until, responding to a welcoming gesture from me, one said in native American English, “We just want to move.”