LaGuardia Airport, outside in the rain

My seatmate from the airplane shared a cab with me. I think for both of us our gaydar went off and so we were super comfy; also, we were both originally from Texas, which means you have a built-in friendly pal mechanism that kicks in. He explained that where I was going, Greenwich Village, was super close to his destination, Chelsea. line for taxis

I didn’t have a map and, for a nerd, hadn’t done my homework, so when we were accosted by rogue taxi drivers outside the airport asking us if we were going to Lower Manhattan, I had no idea what that meant. “No… sorry.” We waited in line instead, trading stories of skeevy cab rides we’d been on in derelict bongwater-smelling minivans driven by skinheads or unshaven old half-drunk dudes with no map and no clue. “It’s best to just wait in line and take a Yellow Cab… Every time I haven’t, I’ve regretted it,” my new buddy informed me wisely. I felt like a cliché of the provincial wide-eyed seamstress arriving in the Big City for the first time, mobbed by hard-nosed predators.

In the cab I also learned more on the topic of NYC neighborhoods. Chelsea is where the gay boys hang out and it’s fun, nice, and chi-chi. Lesbians, being poorer, tend towards the East Village, which is gentrifying but not too horribly fast. I will like Greenwich Village which is studenty and full of bookstores and cafes (says my Wise Guide.) I will like the East Village, which will remind me of the Mission and specifically of Valencia Street in San Francisco. (How did he KNOW?) And I must, must, must, go to a particular Cuban restaurant in Soho, I think on Prince Street but unfortunately I can’t remember, but it’s insanely popular, great, and cheap.

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