The beauty of New York lies in its oddities. Where else, besides Paris, can one spend a subway trip with a veritable walking zoo, emerge to listen to great music and then buy unusually stinky cheese all in under two hours?
Yesterday, Izzy and I took the subway uptown to see a concert on the Upper West Side. As we sat minding our business, we heard a chirping bird. We glanced around and at first saw nothing. The chirping sounds persisted but instead of finding a pet bird on somebody's shoulder we noticed a man with a large feather protruding from his hat. Apparently he was the source. The chirping continued and then new sounds were introduced. We heard a sheep baaing, a crow cawing.. amongst others. By that time he was clearly playing to a crowd of one, or two. Izzy could not suppress his giggles, nor could I. This character turned our ride into quite a joyous one. We were definitely in the mood for the concert, which kept our moods upbeat.
When the concert ended, it was time to get down to some food business. No trip to the Upper West Side is complete without a trip to Zabar's even if it means braving the maddening Saturday crowds. My mission was some green olives for Great-Grandpa but naturally I couldn't leave the store without picking up a few items for us. Our first stop was the olive bar, followed by the cheese counter. Izzy immediately made a stinky cheese request. We were given samples of Casinca, a French goat cheese which Izzy deemed suitably pungent. Then we went on to scan the rest of the store and thirty minutes and fifty dollars later, we found ourselves back outside.
We were ready for our trip home. Back down to the subway we went and boarded the next train. As we sat there on the crowded train, I was assaulted by an unpleasant aroma which I eventually attributed to our cheese! We had to take three trains in all, and each time I was certain that the neighboring passengers were sniffing suspiciously, pondering the source of the odoriferous air. I made a point of opening the cheese bag and apologizing loud enough for others to hear for any offensive aromas.
Later on I had to wonder. Did my fellow passengers consider me, like our animal calling friend from the morning, one of the oddities of New York?