- Published: 01 August 2000 01 August 2000
New York, no matter who the Mayor is, will never clean itself. It shall always remain a city that invades your senses and lingers long after you leave.
Monday I trained in to meet Judy at the Javits Center. She had trained in on Sunday to work a booth at the Trade Show. I was excited upon arrival for it was the first time since she started repping that Iíve had a chance to meet some of her work friends.
Before leaving the station, I stopped to use the rest room at Penn Station. True to my memory, there were a couple of skanky, homeless men hanging out at the sinks, doing whatever. Their stench, mingling with the ever present aroma of stale, dried urine, almost made me retch. What made it worse were the brand new shoes I had on. I so wanted to keep them clean. God was I glad to get out of there.
Most of the day was spent walking. And it was such a glorious day for walking. Blue skies, low humidity and temperatures in the 70ís. Walking to the Javits. Walking the show and then wandering aimlessly around mid-town as Judy worked. My feet finally tired so I returned, bought a magazine and beer and sat and read about Charlie Hayden and Judy Garland.
When the last customers finally left The Nelson Line booth (almost an hour after the show ended), we headed uptown for dinner at Tonyís. Martin, a fellow rep, lives on the Upper East Side and eats there regularly. Ellen and Adele were there as well. It was a wonderful evening. We ate, drank, told stories and laughed the night away. Two different patrons approached us, borrowed cigarettes and blessed us in helping them to sin. If only the stories and wine could have lasted till dawn . . .
Judy and I took a cab back to Penn Station around 11:30. NJ Transit has no bathrooms on board, so I headed back to the menís room. With trepidation.
Unlike the morning, there were no homeless men getting down with the sinks. I stood long enough at my urinal to notice that the station authorities had installed a sound system. A Charles Aznavour-like song was playing. After finishing I turned to leave. Two urinals away was a tall, thin, elderly black man singing along with the music. I cannot tell you the name of the song, nor any of the lyrics, but it was deeply romantic and sung very well. His body was turned slightly to his left, leaving me a wonderful view of him masturbating. He was staring right at my eyes, smiling from ear to ear as he pleasured himself.
As I left, the only thought that had any clear focus was of all the stories Iíve read in the past few years, extolling the wonderful job Rudy Giuliani has done in cleaning up New York City. Evidently, none of the reporters has spent much time in the Penn Station men's room.