So tell me, what is not to love about a city that offers cheesecake
that looks like this? (How ironic that my daughter picked up a packet of "equal" sugar substitute to hold above the cake for perspective.)
The last time that we went to NYC I was amazed at how friendly people were, but I assumed that was mainly because we were tourists and that all those we were encountering were being paid to be friendly to us. But this time we really spent most of our 4 day stay away from many of the tourist hot spots and I was equally awestruck by the courtesy (yes, even among the drivers), the interest and the genuiness of the people towards us. Even the custodians in Central Park picking up the odd scraps of debris (it's incredibly clean, really!) never missed saying hello or wishing me a good day. Kingston is a relatively friendly city and certainly not very scary, yet you would seldom make eye contact with a city park worker. My sister explained it in this way, which seems to make sense: New Yorkers - especially in Manhattan - love to meet people from away who enjoy their city; they are very proud of it.

On day 3, which happened to be a Monday, I went on a yarn store safari and arrived at the 1st store on my list on the East side of Central Park and was "gobsmacked", as they say on Coronation Street, to find the store closed. I couldn't believe it...This is Manhattan for heaven's sake, not the back of beyond. After having walked the 35 blocks to get there it took me a few minutes to summon my energy and courage to move on to the next store about 5 blocks away. There I met Carol from the Woolgatherings, who was a perfect hostess offering suggestions for accomodations for our next visit, good restaurants, what other yarn stores might be closed and therefore avoided on this Monday, and a firm opinion about every topic that we covered. It was wonderful.
After lunch at an Italian restaurant that Carol had suggested, and
a magnificent coffee from a neighbourhood coffee purveyor, I took the "crosstown" bus (see how I'm into the lingo) and got to the Yarn Co. and decided to take a picture of their sign to prove that they are actually closed on Mondays.
One of the great things about a big city however is that there is always some competition nearby, so I was eternally grateful to find Knitty City (http://www.knittycity.com/ ) open and wonderfully welcoming. BUT to make the visit even better, through the door right behind me came Meta, a yarn store owner from Massachussets, who was also in town on the same sort of mission as I was - to scope out what the Mecca of fashion yarn stores has to offer. When we introduced ourselves to Pearl, the owner of Knitty City, she suggested that we go for a coffee and talk shop. And here we are, at a cafe on Broadway, and I'm having the time of my life.
When the conversation turned to Anniversaries (Pearl's store had been open for 3 years and Meta had just had their 1st Anniversary sale), I shared with them our experience of our giant 5th anniversary extravaganza, which started on Sept. 11th, 2001!, and how the store was packed for the entire day with people following events on my little 12" television. I think that it was in watching their reaction and reflecting on how proud and generous New Yorkers are that I realized what it must have meant to be part of that experience, powerful as it was for the rest of us, if you were a local.
I can't wait to go back...but I guess I must.