I landed last night at JFK after an uneventful flight from Chicago. My cab driver drove with all windows down in the cool air, and it made sense when I discovered he was from "Siberia" - somewhere in the Amur region near the Chinese border. We talked about the sizes of the world's greatest bodies of freshwater (statistics he memorized for a Soviet exam back in the day) like Lake Superior, Lake Victoria, and Lake Baikal.
We drove in past the quiet towers of the World's Fair, through the ash heaps, and ultimately parallel to Manhattan. The Empire State and Chrysler buildings radiated out into the night.
We eventually arrived here in the Alphabet City neighborhood of the East Village, where I lugged my luggage up several flights of stairs. The place seems nice, although the street noise and the rumble from Houston comes right in through the gaps around the air conditioning unit. It shouldn't be too difficult to fix. Or perhaps I shouldn't fix it. You hear some interesting things out there along with the honking horns and grinding trucks.
People here, the ostensible birthplace of the "Nuyorican" movement, seem excited about the Sotomayor appointment. There's a vague sense of pride in the air about having a native New York daughter - who has adopted the Nuyorican mantle - named to the high court.
This morning, I ended up in a wholly different neighborhood on the return leg of my run down to the Brooklyn Bridge. Chinatown. I had to smile at a giant handmade shrimp cutout perched on one store awning, inviting passersby in for fresh seafood and "fishs." The delivery trucks, too, were decked out in Mandarin characters. Dumpsters warned of "Poison Bait" with red skull stickers.
The rest of the day calls for unpacking, settling in, obtaining supplies, and getting my bearings. The city beckons, though, and I can't wait to go out and meet up with it.