Thursday, October 21, 2010
Here, in lower Manhattan, way under the radar and not touristed at all, I discovered a little school on a little alley. In New York City, this is how I find solace, in the diminutive. A little alley, a little crook in the street, a little shop, a little building, a little garden. Feeling a little tired, because one can never really become exhausted from exploring the little, and if it is a beautiful day, perhaps one may enjoy a little rest and a little snack. This is why I choose to live in Greenwich Village, because the scale is so much smaller and so much more human.
I have been in many high rises, and there is nothing quite like the ambiance of a classic prewar building and, if one is so privileged, the views that may come with a residence on an upper floor. Icons like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel or the Plaza just exuded charm. And there is nothing quite so noble as the Chrysler Building at night. But for me, when it comes to a place I call home, I choose the small townhouse.
I have not been to the new Vegas, and I imagine I will get there at some time. And, like Dubai, I also imagine that there will be some shock and awe. However, living in New York City for the last 40 years, I do not seek out the the mammoth or the overwhelming when it comes to man made environments. And although I live in the country's largest city, in my business life I have carved out a little niche. It is much easier to succeed in the proverbial small pond.
At 15 Dutch Street, I was very surprised to find the Downtown Little School. From reading, parents rave about this nursery school and I think the word Little (like the Little Red Schoolhouse on Bleecker Street) is a signal that this place emphasizes caring, personal attention and the human touch, embracing all that was good in the old school.
I was also very surprised to learn that the huge multinational giant, Colgate-Palmolive, had its roots on Dutch Street. In 1806, at 6 Dutch Street, William Colgate opened up a starch, soap and candle factory, a reminder that not only the good, but also the big germinates from the Little :)