New York without the verve

The "slip" streets in the financial district of New York used to be water channels where boats would moor so that they could be unloaded. This was back in the days when New York was the Dutch trading port of New Amsterdam.

The hotel I'm staying at (left) is on Peck Slip and maybe it's the thought of sleeping on land-fill that has me feeling a bit morose. Or perhaps it's the city itself -- New York city seems to have lost its verve. The finance-types are making money again, as much money as they did before the crisis. But they no longer seem to be enjoying it. Where the young kids used to talk about their ambitions and conquests, they now describe their work as pointless and worry that they are actively harming society.

Not worrying enough to quit their jobs and do something more "productive" (their words), but wringing their hands nevertheless.

It's not just the financial people who seem beaten down.

A retail store advertised that it was looking for sales people and this was the line that formed outside its doors. The line snaked around the city block, with anxious looking people clutching pads with their applications filled out.

Incidentally, this is near Ground Zero, closer to the World Trade Center building site than the Park 51 Muslim community center would be. I've never New York like this.

Chinatown, though, remains what it was. The streets were crowded as were the restaurants.

A friend and I were looking for a hole-in-the-wall that'd gotten good reviews but we missed it and entered the adjacent restaurant instead. It turned out to be a happy mistake -- the watercress-and-pork dumplings were heavenly. We ordered two entrees and they tasted different; just imagine: a Chinese restaurant that uses different sauces for different dishes!

So, the simple pleasures of New York remain.
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