If New Yorkers are different (and they’ll tell you they are), it’s because they’re Masters of Incongruity. If there’s anything New York excels at, Incongruity is it. Other cities have the best rivers flowing through the middle of town or the biggest mansions or the most cafes with waiters who are too good to talk to you. We compete for those honors but we don’t necessarily win. But when it comes to Incongruity, we’ve got it by the bucketful (truckful/transport aircraft full, choose your metaphor).
See the building on the left? That’s the 14th Street Y, where I had hoped to use the elliptical machine for my workout.
See the building on the right, the red one? Yes, it’s a firehouse, one of the remaining old slice-of-New-York ones.
So naturally, who had a fire just when I needed my workout? The gym right next door to the firehouse. And of course, they had to send four engines, not just the two housed one foot away.
So all the firemen were standing around outside while a whole other group went through the building double-checking everything. From what I heard, the fire was in the shower attached to the locker room attached to the pool and the exercise room where my elliptical machine – my intended – was waiting for me faithfully (or maybe not – I think she’s promiscuous when I’m not around).
Anyway, a motley group of gymrats was standing on the sidewalk outside in their shorts and T-shirts.
“Where’s your clothes?” (It’s ten degrees in Manhattan today, folks)
“They hustled us out. They’re inside.” He shivered. “I’ll never complain about the cold again as long as I got my coat on, never!”
I consoled myself with a slice of pizza from Artichoke’s next door (eat your heart out, Smitty). Slice of life, though, that’s the New York way.