Saturday, September 8, 2007
Room with a view
This was the view from my hotel room in New York City last week. It's my favorite. Sure, I loved the view of Central Park as we had brunch in the Metropolitan Museum dining room, and the one looking down 59th Street from the front of the Time Warner Center. You had the same view if you watched the Ellen show this week, by the way. (I tuned in only to see Hillary on Tuesday!)
I loved the sights and sounds of the throngs in Times Square, in Little Italy, and in the lingerie section (would that be thongs?) of Bloomingdales.
But this "rear window" view from my hotel room was the best. One night I tried to count the number of windows, but I lost track after thirty-nine. I wished I'd brought binoculars — who knows, I might have seen something requiring my skills as an amateur sleuth. Just as well, however. I wouldn't have wanted to waste NYPD manpower being called to check out the voyeur on the nineteenth floor of the Hyatt, overlooking Grand Central Station.
Each little window in the photograph held a story and questions of its own. One window, lit all night long, seemed to contain stacks of computer monitors. A storeroom? A clerical pool? Maybe a tempting place for an office tryst. If you saw the Spike TV series "Kill Point" you know how that can turn out.
Was the woman in the yellow brick building watching me as I was watching her? Who was the man in fourth window from the left? To whom did he go home at night? More important, how come he has a job on 42nd Street while I have to drive out to one in the desert of Livermore, California?
As I looked at those windows, I was in creative heaven. Recently I blogged about how I don't mind having only short periods of time in a noisy environment. The full-out truth is, the noisier the better. I need noise to think. Maybe it comes from doing all my undergraduate math and physics homework on Boston's MTA, one arm wrapped around a pole, the other holding my text.
On one of the days last week, I took a train to Wappinger Falls, about an hour and a half upstate from Manhattan, along the Hudson. Out of those windows I saw farms, vast green spaces, silos. It was beautiful, but only for about five minutes. Then it lulled me to sleep. Unlike the windows in my special alley in midtown, all the cows looked alike. I could never write or think in that environment.
What environment gets your creative juices going?