New York Notes, 2

Children wear helmets for scooters,
though most under 5 are tucked tightly
into narrow strollers perfect for leading
the charge to one of the local yogurt shops
or patisseries for dessert.
If you go to the Culture Shop, the organic,
locally made nutella is amazing,
though strawberry-rhubarb topping is
also good on the tart original.
A long table for eight seats four friends,
gathered for an afternoon,
while the other end
hosts a tourist couple who wandered
into the air conditioned relief.

Early June typically tops out in the high 70s,
but this year the low 90s
tax the locals and tourists both.
Window units run on some floors
while fans draw hot air in and out on others.

Riding the trains is a simple task,
made more complex by the multiplicity of routes
covering similar territory and the fact that
terminals going different directions are located
across the streets.
There are no east-west, north-south designations,
instead trains head uptown or downtown,
to Coney Island or Bay Ridge
(neither of which were a destination for my jaunts).

Avenues and streets are numbered,
crossing each other generally at right angles,
and interspersed with streeks like
Carroll and Union in Brooklyn
or Christopher and Prescott in Greenwich.

All the streets have sidewalks,
some covered by scaffolding
and occasionally one dug up and re-routed
out, around, or across the street.
The touristy areas have sidewalks wide enough
for eight friends to saunter side-by-side,
though they are so packed
people often step into the street to pass.
There are also semi-permanent fixtures,
like trash bags and map-searching out-of-towners,
and more permanent protrusions
like the hot dog or ice cream van,
the tilt-a-whirl of shop postcards,
and the cloth-covered table
of designer scarves, purses, and/or umbrellas.
I♥NY tee-shirts sell in color for $5 each
while sets in black and white
(and presumably thinner)
clothe a family of five for $10.
In Michigan I paid $30 for the cheapest bag
to cart my purchases home,
but in New York,
they are bigger, more versatile, and on sale
for as little as $5.99, including tax.
Unplanned-for rain sent us scurrying
for a small outline umbrella
in something other than the traditional black.
And the blue cloth with brown and beige umbrellas,
both open and closed,
spent most of its time
in my purse and my husband’s backpack.
It did protect us during the final downpour of the day
as we and a neighborhood of commuters
spilled out of the underground subway station
into the deluge on the street.

Macy’s Midtown, filling the entire block
between Broadway and 7th Avenue,
is a tourist attraction
offering an entire floor of women’s shoes–
Steve Madden, Marc Fisher,
and more elite and expensive designers
offer shoes below a thousand dollars and pair
and many three and four hundred dollar shoes on clearance.
You can also purchase pairs for as little as $50,
some not found in similar venues in other states.
Macy’s has a Visitor’s Pass worth 10% off for the day
and can be used multiple times that day.
The $5 difference adds up
when you’ve shopped on seven floors,
with the first four split between men and women’s,
with the remainder all for the ladies.
Auntie Ann’s pretzels and a pizza shop
tantalize junior shoppers
with smells of baking.
Starbucks, up a floor, between juniors and lingerie.

Vincent Camuto, Gianni Bini, Jessica Simpson…