When New York is good, it is very, very good,
But when it is bad, it is horrid.
We got off the train at Penn Station late at night, trundling along the platform with stroller and bags, hunting for the elevator. When it finally arrived and the doors parted, we were greeted by several smells—wet feet being the most prevalent though the least offensive. We got in and tried not to breath. Leaving, we almost tripped over the homeless man who had fallen asleep in the rarely used corridor. “Welcome to New York, baby” we whispered, as we pushed her past his boots.
But the Big Apple thrilled Baby C--recumbent in her stroller, New York was all glitter and no grit. When we taxied through Times Square, her jaw and eyes opened wide. (Unfortunately, both stayed open for most of the night—she was a true New Yorker and cranked up around midnight.)
On the train out to my college roommate’s house, I tried to breastfeed Baby C surreptitiously in the near-empty car. After collecting tickets, the conductor circled back to us, plopped down in the seat opposite, and started chatting about his nine-month-old daughter as Baby C smacked away. My friend Kelly laughed when I told her I was slightly mortified by the encounter. “Trust me—that’s not the worst thing he’s seen on the Long Island Rail Road.”
With the exception of our hotel room neighbors, whom we thankfully never met, the New Yorkers seemed charmed by the baby. Bell-hops and cabbies, barristas and conductors—all tried to coax smiles out of Baby C, cooing at her (then turning around and yelling at the other patrons). And Baby C gurgled and smiled right back, enchanted by the lights, the noises, and the smells that masked even her worst diapers.