New York, New York
The whole city really did look like a film set. That classical skyscraper, that’s where King Kong met his end. You could picture four women lunching and bitching in that window there. Audrey Hepburn returning at dawn, ‘fifty dollars for the powder room’ in her bag, gazing into a dazzling display of diamonds. Spider Man and Batman saving the world from evil just opposite Bloomingdale’s.
And as for this crumbling old shell of a woman? I couldn’t die without seeing New York, could I? A lifetime with a pleasant but tight-fisted man and not a single adventure other than through the silver screen. Now he was gone I wanted to be a part of it, New York, New York.
The taxi stopped just near where the horse-drawn carriages waited for tourists by Central Park. I paid him, tipped well, and stood with my back to the park, admiring the solid, gothic-tinged apartment blocks, each with their inscrutable doorman. Wasn’t that one where the Ghostbusters had their final showdown?
I shuffled around to face that wonderful park. My shoes were already giving me trouble but that wasn’t going to stop me. I had gone for an appointment, set up the day after Bernie’s funeral, with the personal shopper of Bloomingdale’s. I had explained my situation.
“My husband has left me three million,” I said. “Dress me as if I lived on Park Avenue.” And, eyebrows hardly raising – she must have seen some customers in her time! – she dressed me like a Lady.
I wrapped my stole tighter around me to protect me from the sharp wind and made my way towards the lower East corner. I had been told there was a little zoo near here.
“Can I interest you in a ride, ma’am?”
I shook my head at the tall, smiling black man who sat at the reins of the first carriage.
“You sure, ma’am? It’s an awful big park?”
All of a sudden I felt the chill of the March wind and the pinch of the elegant shoes on my tired old feet. I looked up at him.
“Do you know, I think that I might enjoy a ride?”
The driver helped me into the carriage. He did indeed cut a dash with his white teeth and smart black suit. I felt every inch the real Lady.
“I’m going to take you on the greatest ride of your life, if you’ll permit me, ma’am. I’m going to show you everything you never saw. I want you to be a part of it, New York.”
“Well thank you, my weary old bones are about ready to be shown the city in style.”
The graceful black man, his midnight eyes shining with the wisdom of centuries, flicked his reins and his beloved horse pulled away from the curb. The ebony carriage, shimmering darkly, gathered speed, taking me to see all the sights that I had never seen.