By Caitlin Kelly
Manhattan is a big place, 13.4 miles in length.
Hard to admit this, but even after decades living near the city and spending so much time there for work and pleasure, there are still places I have never before been.
Washington Heights, a largely Dominican neighborhood (east of Broadway) and now gentrified west of Broadway, dubbed Hudson Heights in 1992 and mostly white, is one.
With a population of 201, 590 it’s large enough to have three zip codes.
I hadn’t been to the city (as suburbanites call NYC) since February and I really miss it.
I met two long-time friends there for dinner, one who lives a block away east of Broadway and one who made the 45 minute subway ride from her home in Queens, one of the city’s five boroughs. Both are fellow freelancers and one was hired to do COVID contact tracing — but, lucky for some but not him, there have been too few cases for him to trace.
Both had also spent time — even together — in Tokyo and Shanghai so I heard a lot of stories about both, and had never been there either.
Our dinner was fantastic and it was absolute heaven to be surrounded, once more, by people and music and laughter. Some wore masks as did all the wait-staff.
Everyone was outdoors and spaced widely enough I did not fear making this choice to be social.
I live in a nice suburban town and enjoy it, but it is really really boring! There’s nowhere to go and nothing to do since the only sure way to protect your health is to stay out of all indoor spaces, even grocery stores.
So to have a few hours surrounded by bustle and chatter and people looking happy, not terrified, was a true joy.
I even found a parking garage (key!) across the street and remembered one of Manhattan’s space-saving quirks — car elevators.
Total cost, between parking, garage tip and a fantastic meal shared with old friends I hadn’t seen in six months, was about $100.
Not cheap, but worth every penny.