I captured this photo late last summer in Hell’s Kitchen. The pigeons looked so peaceful silhouetted in the afternoon light, high above the Theater District rush.
I was noticing pigeons everywhere that summer. One in particular, the largest I’d ever seen, had made its home on the ledge outside my kitchen window. I’d turn on the stove for coffee Saturday mornings and it would greet me by fluttering its wings – revealing a streak of silver that each time I’d mistake for a flash of light. Each time I was surprised a bird could emit such radiance.
It occurred to me a few weeks ago I haven’t seen that pigeon in months. Where did he go? He hasn’t traveled south. Unlike other birds, pigeons don’t migrate – once they find a nesting place they will stay year round. Pigeons will always return to the location imprinted on their brains upon birth.
Maybe he’s been there all along but his feathers are dulled by the city dust. Or maybe he flutters his wings but there’s no light in the sky for his silver streaks to reflect, nothing to make me turn.
I remember first hearing the term “rookie” when I was five years old at a Yankees game with my dad.
Derek Jeter was at bat and the late Bob Sheppard’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker. For the most part I didn’t pay much attention to what Sheppard was saying, but when I heard him say “rookie” I perked up.
“Dad, what does ‘rookie’ mean?”
“It means it’s his first year playing baseball here. He’s the new guy on the team.”
A future Hall of Famer with just days left in his career, the Yankees captain is a long way from being the new guy on the team. But to this day whenever I hear the word “rookie” I think of the 21-year-old Derek Jeter. Even though 19 years and five World Series championships later, he’s become a legend. Even though Jeter’s entire career passed during the time I grew up, went to college and got my first job, he’s still immortalized as that guy at bat the summer of ’95.
It’s a good reminder that even the best of the best were rookies, once.
Watch Jeter’s touching tribute to fans in this Gatorade ad.
Nothing about going to a zoo, or even just running through one, seemed appealing to me. Never mind that we’d have to leave the house in New Jersey around 6:30 a.m. to get there.
And I didn’t regret that decision when race day came and my family rushed around at an hour no 22-year-old should ever see on a Saturday morning. I didn’t have plans for the day except to go for a run and get coffee with my friend Laura later in the afternoon. So while my family meandered around animal cages in the Bronx, I meandered around the house, drinking English Breakfast tea and enjoying the rare silence.
But despite the big to-do I made about “never in a million years waking up early to run through a zoo,” I ended up at a local wildlife conservation center later that afternoon.
How? It was too beautiful outside to sit in a coffee shop, so Laura and I decided to grab coffees to go and visit the Wyckoff Wildlife Center instead.
And–to my surprise–I loved it.
Now I wouldn’t say we engaged with the wild as well as we could have. Sunglasses set and ponytails high, we powerwalked around the paths the way we would powerwalk down a city street. We chatted, gossiped, laughed, and made no effort to quell the constant clunking of ice in our Starbucks iced coffees.
But for all the time I spend inside buses and on city streets, this was a wonderful change of scenery.
We stopped to look at the Red Tail Hawk. We oohed and aahed at the peacocks. We basked in the 70-degrees-and-sunny weather. The day was beautiful, a spring breakthrough.
The more we walked, the more I remembered really loving this place as a kid. After all the birthday parties and field trips, why had I never thought to go back?
Our foray into the wild came to a close, though, when we’d lapped the same young family three times on the nature trail and filled our iPhones with daffodil photos.
Also, I had some returns to Banana and H&M that needed to be taken care of.
Later that night I told my family how much I had enjoyed the wildlife center, that maybe I should do things like that more often. It’s a good way to slow down, enjoy the weekend, and get away from the rush of the city.
“You should have come to the zoo with us, then. You should have run for the elephants.”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far…”
I guess I put ideas in their heads, though, because tonight my sister approached me with another question.
One of the great things about being in New York is you never know what will happen, or who you’ll run into, on any given day.
The craziest things can happen and they make for the best stories.
Last Wednesday I had plans to meet a friend for pre-work coffee in the basement of Rockefeller Center. As I rushed down 6th Avenue, bordering on late for our 9 a.m. meeting, I received two somewhat puzzling texts from her.
With my wallet temporarily missing and my arms full with the contents of my bag, I didn’t immediately register what she meant.
Until I got to Rockefeller Center, walked downstairs, turned the corner and saw 50 of these guys sitting in tables. (And my friend Katherine, waiting at a table next to them.)
(Actually, this is the group from 2007, but it gives you the idea.)
Every single table in the entire seating area was taken up by hunky-looking guys in black T-shirts that said “Cosmo Bachelors 2012.” On the front of each T-shirt was the individual guy’s home state. Each year, Cosmopolitan Magazine selects the most attractive single guys from every state in the U.S. and publishes short profiles on them in the November issue.
I couldn’t believe it. For 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning, being surrounded by these guys just seemed beyond ridiculous.
But it was indeed real. See? That’s me with Mr. Illinois and Mr. Massachusetts.
Katherine and I were so giddy we barely wanted to leave the area to grab coffee. Needless to say, we didn’t do much catching up that morning, or need much caffeine.
Epilogue: it turns out the 50 bachelors were on The Today Show a little while later with Kathie Lee & Hoda. They played Truth or Dare and then helped the dynamic television duo carve pumpkins. (Yes, they assisted in the pumpkin-carving. True gents.) Watch this video clip of the segment, it’s pretty hilarious.