New York Diary Page 1
NEW YORK DIARY
I was at St. Clement’s on West 46
Street, typing up publicityfor the poetry program and a piece about an elderly artist, Paul
Johnston “PJ” who lived in Greenwich Village, when Betsey H.
called. She was on 18
Street and she said she’d like to see me
before she left the city.I met her at 5:30 on Sixth Avenue near 8
Street, both a half
hour early for a 6 o’clock meeting. We went to Café Figaro, had
coffee and a big sandwich we shared and labored through; it wasdry.
“You’ve made something for yourself here,”
Betsey said. She
couldn’t be aggressive or competitive enough, she said. “
A cut-throat. The killer instinct.
It took her four years to understand that
she couldn’t take New York. “I’m throwing in the towel. I’ve donemy time on the rock.”
She added, “I miss the open spaces. There’s
no place to escape from the city.
“I know how to get away,” I said. “The Staten Island Ferry.”
We left for my place to get coats. She wasn’t very warmly
dressed. When we walked out, it was not only windy and cold, butraining. The subway lurched from stop to stop all the way to the
on the Upper West Side, where she once lived andI still did.She said it was like reliving or re-entering the past comingdown the street
toward Riverside, but you can’t go bac
“It’s depressing here. It’s just the same,”
I get thesame feelings here all over again.
So we said,
“What the hell, let’s go.”
The rain had stopped. It was a long trip down to South Ferryand we dressed for a traveler in a storm. I had my huge ABCumbrella, later lost somewhere on a subway or platform. At
Chambers Street, the train stopped and didn’t move.
Betsey stamped her foot.
“Come on, let’s go!
A woman down the train on the other side laughed. We got intoa conversation with her about subway commuting. I told her Betsey was leaving the city. Too much noise, dirt, etc. We weregoing on the Staten Island
Ferry because she’d never been o
Betsey asked, “
t’s running this late at night?”
Oh yes, she said. I’m going there.Another woman said, you’ll be able to catch the 9:30 boat.
By the time we got to South Ferry (there is no north ferry)three people were talking to us. Yes, you can get hot dogs and
coffee on the boat. You can stay on and come back. It’s 25 cents
going from New York and free going back.Getting on the boat I suddenly had the feeling as we walked