Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Penn Station

I'm a New Yorker in a time warp. I'm one of the few who doesn't notice that the "twin towers" are gone, since I moved to Israel in 1970, before they were built. They were never part of my visual memory, and I never went there, even during my periodic visits back.

So I was rather shocked to read that Penn Station has to be totally redone. In my New York, the present Penn Station, sans the Gimbel's Department Store, in the basement of the new Madison Square Garden, is a recently constructed modern building.

This is all so disorienting for me. I haven't gotten used to the present layout, still expecting to see that "Nedicks" just next to the 7th Avenue subway entrance. At least I can now use the well-kept (compared to my memories) "ladies' room" in the special waiting area of the Long Island Railroad. And of course I still wait for the window displays at Gimbels.

During a recent visit I got lost in the giant discount store not far from the LIRR. All I wanted was a pair of stockings. The most traumatic by far has been learning how to use all those ticket machines; though I'm proud to say that I even learned how to buy with my charge card. It was worth the challenge, considering the weight of the dollar coins, used as change.

I know that the Museum of Modern Art has been moving all over the place, just to confuse us all--but isn't that "modern art?" Is Penn Station really next?

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