Monumental Chores

Davao giant meets NYC titan

SEEING the world and being on the road for too long may not entirely mean you’re on a vacation. Most especially if you have to keep an eye on the contents of your pocket. Sure, you’re in the company of your best friend, the reliable plastic. Sure, you may live in a fancy hotel, but being in the Big Apple entails a great deal of responsibility. You have to be chic and fashionable, at least I have to be, or I try to be.

But you don’t have to play dress up like me. Personally, I didn’t wait this long to tread the streets of Upper Manhattan on trainers (unless I would go jogging around Central Park, which was out of the question in the dead of winter). There is a dependable pair (in the style and comfort department) in my arsenal of footwear to keep going all day long. The winter clothes, though weighing heavy on the luggage, have to be Uptown chic in black, maybe a hint of color somewhere to break the monotony of the dark hue. That’s what I should be bringing (and brought), so say my localized friends. I trust them.

Opening the temporary closet and staring at the contents is like going through a color-coded section of a men’s boutique. The color? Need you ask? It’s just a matter of mixing and matching the pieces to create a whole new look. And off I go to enjoy my daily bite of the Big Apple.

From Union Square, Jenny GA (not Giorgio Armani but equally fashionable in her signature red lipstick) wandered about the District and came across another of NYC’s landmark (designated as such in 1966, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Talk about credentials.) She pointed out the unique building formation and said, “I’ll take your picture with that building.”

The cleverly engineered, triangular- ground planned, vertical Renaissance palazzo with Beaux-Arts styled building is called the Flatiron (aka the Fuller Building) at 175 Fifth Avenue was one of the tallest buildings in the city and the only skyscraper north of 14th Street, the upscale district in the past. Although this groundbreaking skyscraper was named after its founder, the locals persisted on calling it “The Flatiron”. The majority has spoken, thus making the name official.

The Flatiron became the subject of the artists back then. But like any other works, art or not, appreciation is subjective. It was called “the bow of monster ocean steamer”, “a picture of New America in the Making”, “a structure of note for New York City as the Parthenon was to Athens”, “a disgrace to the city, an outrage to our sense of the artistic, and a menace to life”. And true to what one artist said “A curious creation, no doubt, but can it be called beautiful? Beauty is a very abstract idea … Why should the time not arrive when the majority without hesitation will pronounce the ‘Flat-iron’ a thing of beauty?” for indeed, beauty is in the eye of the beholder- pardon the cliché.

And so, I stood by the tall structure doing what every tourist must do, posing and documenting the visit in this part of the grand city, one important thing popped to mind. The Flat iron reminded me that I needed to have to do an important chore- laundry! The NYC trousseau has to find its way to the washer, dryer and the dreaded ironing board. Now tell me that wasn’t a monumental task for anyone away from home?

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 05, 2011.


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