The flight back on Monday night was delayed three hours, because I guess Newark is always like that. I like that it was long enough to justify spending seven bucks on aiport WiFi so I could upload the last batch of photos. I didn’t like getting in so late that Chris and I had to scrap our plans to watch The Warriors and pretend that we recognized the subway stops.
It was a good trip. We spent more on Metrocards than on cabs. We went to that place where that one guy makes pizzas all by himself and everyone stands around watching sadly until they get a slice. I got to make devious plans for the new book. (I’ll show you the cover soon.) I went to see the Girlbomb reading and I bought the book and read the whole thing (and you should, too, and then check out Janice’s old journal entries, which will quietly blow your mind). We went to the Museum of Television and Radio and watched many old things, though I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have the episode of Fantasy Island that scared the crap out of me when I was a kid (the one I described in paragraph 3 of this old TWoP recap). I suppose I was also a little relieved.
Two final questions about New York, both animal-related, one of them hypothetical: 1.) Are there really that many pugs in the West Village, or do people bring them from other parts of the city just to walk them there? 2.) Say you’re waiting on a mostly empty subway platform and you look over and see a rat across the tracks, skittering around happily on its own deserted stretch of platform, and then you see a very nicely dressed woman coming down the stairs and choosing not to stand at the busier end of the platform and instead striding over to the empty end, into rat territory. Do you try to shout across the tracks and warn her? (Okay, maybe this is not hypothetical.) (And no, I wasn’t on the rat side of the tracks.) (And yes, there are rats in Chicago, too, and they come with their own dramatic possibilties.)
And finally finally: come to the reading in Oakbrook on Thursday. Which, by the time you read this, will be tonight.
Hannah B. says
Break a leg at tonight’s reading! If I were in the area, or anything resembling driving distance of the area, I would totally be there. Loved the book, love the blog. And am afraid that some of the recipes included in Book #1 reminded me of things that might have actually appeared on our table in the 60s. Scary!
Hmmm. I live north of NYC, but travel there for doctor’s visits…
1. There are far more pugs on the upper east side than the west side. And the two worlds converge on Sundays in Central Park (which separates the west and east sides). There’s even an area in the park called “Pug Hill,” where the pug owners go and let their dogs off leash etc.
2. It’s truly a judgement call. Part of travelling safely in NYC (as a non-NYC person) is by not establishing eye contact with folks, making chitchat, and if you don’t know where you’re going, at least LOOK like you know where you’re going (at least until you see a cop, THEN you can ask for directions). If it was just one stray rat, and not a pack of them, I’d just assume let it slide. Given the area you were visiting… rats, vomit/urine in the street, or homeless people can be ubiquitous.
Hope you enjoyed your trip to NYC. I was there Tuesday. It’s truly great to visit.
In general, we leave the rats alone and they leave us alone. I mean, we try to poison them and stuff, but look how well THAT works! If a rat doesn’t scuttle away from a human on the subway platform, then the rodent revolution has begun and we’ve got bigger problems.
I’m not sure if everyone is getting what I mean i/r/t the rat scenario. It’s not about personal safety or anything (and Chicago isn’t that different from NY in that respect). I was just wondering whether I should have given a courtesy shout across the tracks to the lady who was walking closer and closer to a rat on her platform.
I mean… okay: say YOU were walking along a subway platform and suddenly there’s a rat right THERE–not on the tracks, but a few feet away where it could maybe FREAK OUT AND RUN OVER YOUR FOOT (which happened to someone I know here in Chicago), but whatever, you didn’t expect to see it there, so of course you gasp or shout or jump or scurry away. Like you’re going to have SOME kind of reaction, right?
So you react and then you look over and see that on the opposite platform, someone has been watching you this whole time and probably could have warned you.
Do you harbor any ill feelings towards this person or do you simply regard him or her as a bystander who plays no role whatsoever in your little rat encounter?
In other words, is it even worth it to wave from across the tracks and say, “Uh, I wouldn’t go any further down the platform if I were you,” or do you wait to see what happens?
(I decided in the end that as long as I wasn’t openly laughing at this lady’s rat reaction, it was okay to stay out of it. But I also wanted to make sure I wasn’t witnessing the beginning of the rodent revolution.)
Hannah B. says
So, was there a rat reaction?
I think, in the scenario you just described, you did the right thing. (Like I know anything about subway stations.) A whole pack (herd? flock? murder?) of rats, yes, speak up. And a rabid rat, by all means. But just one rat might get you one of those, “I Live Here I Know How to Deal with Rats” looks.
That’s a tricky one. Kind of like the one where someone has toilet paper on their shoe but with much more dire consequences. Personally, if I saw a rat in a subway tunnel, even it was on another platform, I would scurry out of their so fast and take the cross town bus. I wouldn’t have time to warn my fellow travelers. Each man/woman for themselves!!
I think the whole rat bystander alert really depends on what someone is wearing. For example, this woman was nicely dressed, so if she was wearing boots Iâ€™d stay out of it. If she was wearing open toe heels with tights or stockings, Iâ€™d still stay out of it. However, if she was wearing strappy-type sandals, bare legs and a short skirt, then maybe a warning is necessary given the skin proximity to potential rabies or even just the brush of rat fur. I remember a guy on the Washington Street platform in Chicago who always fed the rats sticks of Doublemint gum that he had just bought from the blind guy. They seemed to dig it. So, I suppose another possibility is to throw a stick of gum at the rat to distract it from an encounter with nicely dressed people.
I just found you through Jen Lancaster (I’m a diehard reader of hers!) and I’m soooo glad. I love your picture streams — makes me want to hang out with ya’ll! (Don’t worry, I won’t stalk you, unless Jen helps me! Hee!)
Can’t we make the correlation that Pugs are the new rat? Actually, I dogwalked in Midtown for a week and it was all pugs. Any other NYC areas that are all pugs?
Y’know the Manhattan rule can be it’sgauche to say a single word to strangers, but I say screw that rule and warn her about the rat. We’ve all got 1 life to live, and we might as well try to be decent in it, no? Obviously, we all know the subway has it’s risks, but why not give a little shout-out?
I live in Manhattan and there are a grotesque amount of pugs. I come across more pugs than rats, for sure, and it makes you wonder how in-bred they are. As far as the courtesy rat shout-out goes, it is above and beyond your duty to alert a person on the opposite tracks. Most seasoned NYers are aware of their surroundings, and familiar with the lil’ rat encounter once in a while.
I don’t think you need to worry about the rat lady if she’s on the other platform. If she was standing beside you, then you could say something.
Once, I was waiting on a subway platform sitting on the stairs & looked back just in time to see a meganormous rat coming down the stairs towards me. I’m just saying, he was big enough to take the stairs. No one warned me & it turned out ok (I got out of his way).