Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I still call Manhattan home

Whenever I return to New York now, I don’t feel that I’m on a visit, even a long one: I feel that I’m coming home. This is my fifth year of putting out feelers and putting down roots here. In total, by the end of my stay this year, I will have spent over two years in New York since 2009. I know a lot of people now.

In the past two weeks I’ve run three races in Central Park. In this week’s 5-mile Portugal Day race, I placed second (out of 41) in my age group with 44:32 (8:55 minute miles). I felt like I was in the zone for the last two miles, which I think reflects the past fortnight’s regular training. I’ve really missed the 5:30 a.m. crew, who meet on Fifth Avenue on weekday mornings for a run and a chat, so it’s wonderful to be back into that routine and to have their support as we all prepare for marathons in the autumn.

My friend Joanne from Melbourne was here for a few days at the start of the month. (We joke that she’s my surrogate daughter.) She has been at the finish line at a number of my races now, including in Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, and now the Celebrate Israel 4-mile race in New York. She and a friend drove a truck across the US. It’s one way to arrive for a first visit!

Another friend visiting from out of town was Ingrid, from Chile, whom I met in Santiago 18 months ago. We caught up for a long chat a few days after I arrived.

Dominic, a good friend since 1983, was in town from Tokyo. We had a lovely long lunch. It’s always a lot of fun to see him. The last time was in New York in 2009, and before that in Melbourne in 2008, when we ran 15 km along the Yarra River together to celebrate our then 25-year friendship.

I had a day out on Long Island last week on a spectacularly beautiful day with Joe, a new mate from my stay in Bali earlier this year. We had lunch at a seafood joint, then walked for a couple of hours along a beach on Fire Island before topping off the day with ice cream.

I also ran into a guy in my neighbourhood whom I met in Reykjavik last August.  TR works in the film business, and there were a few films being made in Iceland at that time.

It’s becoming a very small world!

Two running friends in New York have had babies: Heather and Joe had Michael about three months ago. He is already a fixture (with Joe) at Engineer’s Gate during races when Heather is running. She and I ran the Mini 10K together last week. And Natalie and Nils had “Baby” last weekend. He’s bound to be a runner, too, as he has long feet! He just needs a name…

I’m loving being back in film-going mode: “Frances Ha” (terrific); “Triumph of the Wall” (documentary about the building of a dry-stone wall in Canada); “Before Midnight” (following on from “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset”, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy); “What Maisie Knew” (with the wonderful Onata Aprile); a documentary about photographer Bert Stern, “The Original Mad Man”; “Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorffs” (about Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York); “Man of Steel” (with Maria and Lissy, to check out the new Superman); “Trashed” (Jeremy Irons’ documentary about waste disposal); and “Girl Rising” (documentary about nine young girls who break through the cultural and other barriers that restrict their educational opportunities). My actor and musician friend Diane and I saw a play, “Fix Number Six”, down near the Bowery last week. A lot of hard work went into it, but neither of us enjoyed it much.

My work has been slow over the past month, which has given me an opportunity to spend time doing other things without stressing about deadlines. But I now have a big job in my in-tray, so it’s business as unusual.