Wednesday, January 4, 2012

spectacles

The WTC memorial pools were so much more great and massive than I thought. They're a beautiful and impressive sight, yet at the same time I felt weird visiting them, not least because the unguided tour led you straight from the memorial site and into the gift shop.

Don't you know that feeling? When you find yourself participating in some kind of "collective human behavior" and suddenly feel really bad about it? I had a similar experience the other day when we ventured up to Harlem to have lunch at Marcus Samuelson's comfort food restaurant, The Red Rooster. The place was completely filled with white tourists enjoying "authentic southern food" and admiring all the "African-American paraphernalia" decorating the interior. And suddenly I felt like such an ass for buying into that Harlem-as-fun-park experience that was so far removed from "the real" Harlem outside, where few people are able to spend $15 on a lunch of biscuits and gravy or whatever. Anyway, I made myself (and Johan) feel so depressed about the place that I left again without lunching.

(I should be careful not to sound too self-righteous, though, because right afterwards I took the subway straight downtown to eat comfort food in some West Village joint decorated like a 19th century New England cottage (???!))

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