Monday 27th August
7am Lenox Hill, New York City.
Trucks finish up their morning deliveries before getting caught in the building traffic. Cream O’Land dairy products, Corona Ice, FedEx, R-Way, Seoul Glass, U-Haul, Absolute Electric, the synonymous yellow taxi cabs deftly weave their way around garbage compactor trucks which pause at the curb. It takes some time to get used to the piles of thick plastic bags of refuse which edge the pavement. Thick black plastic ones, clear plastic ones, stacks of cardboard tied neatly.
The balcony is on the north-west corner, 11 floors up. If I lean forward around one corner I can see the suspended tramway system that takes people over to the nearby Roosevelt Island. The Queensboro bridge runs high straight over the top of it. A quaint transport system it may be for visitors to the city but 8000 people live on the island and a university has been recently added. I’d choose RI as my fantasy residence: physically close but cut off by a river, New York but not New York, looking back at the city but not really a part of the city and catching a few cool winds off the Hudson River.
Clouds are sparse and high this morning, a cool breeze knock about the flowers and herbs which are setting their autumn seeds. A vapour marks the sky though there’s no trace of the plane that made it. Small flocks of birds dart around the skyscrapers. Shadows are shortening as the sun climbs. Curtains are opened on the glass behemoth opposite. Balconies are empty though if I lower my glasses and concentrate I can see the odd resident finishing their morning coffee before heading out into the world.
Cacophony is the only way to describe the mix of noise. High pressure cleaning off the pavement below, a masonry drill too close-by, horns in call and response, screeching brakes, that ever-present low hum of engines and other noises too foreign to pinpoint. It’s not the growing heat but the masonry drill that finally drives me inside to my air-conditioned cocoon.