A friend of mine turned me on to www.couchsurfing.com. She is a talented artist who decided to go west. Since she is 22 years old and not cynical, she signed up for couch surfing and made her way across country sleeping on stranger's couches with friends scattered in between for good measure. She stayed with us first on her journey and then kept us updated with her blog along the way. It was enough for me to go on the site and check it out.
So I started a profile without any real information and figured Mattie and I would fill it in later. A few days ago we got an email on CS from a 21 year old German boy who is in NYC with a friend shooting a low budget film and looking for a place to stay. Mattie and I arranged to meet them at the oldest and longest operating pub in NYC, McSorley's circa 1852. We were early, so we joined a California couple at a table and marveled at the history on the walls. From original New York Times front pages of the Titanic sinking and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the wishbones that hang on the light fixture over the bar with 90 years of dust. The bones were from the chicken dinners of soldiers going off to World War One, they would put their bones on this light fixture and then take them off when they returned. The dust covered bones there today serve as a sort of memorial to the men who never returned home. McSorely's is a living time capsule, beneath the trendy exterior of the East Village lies a place the has kept the integrity of the era when the neighborhood was populated roughnecks and over crowded tenements.
We enjoyed the evening with the couple at the table until the two German boys came in excited and exhausted from a week's worth of shooting. They joined us at the table for a few beers and then they went back to work more and we went home to rest. When we got home we had already decided that the boys could stay with us until the end of October. We couldn't help but appreciate these young artists with their contagious enthusiasm. Not to mention most people who know me know that I have a special place in my heart for artists and Germans.
It was a night for appreciating something truly magical about a city where you can meet young people here for the first time in a place almost as old as this country.