Best city moments

If getting a PhD in urban planning and living in a the center of one of the world’s largest aren’t hints, I love cities. There are certain moments in cities that I find absolutely exquisite.

1. Just before a subway arrives. You can hear it coming, and suddenly the stale air of the platform lifts away with a whoosh of fresh air.

2. Twilight during rush hour. The winter sun is going down, and there are throngs of people on the street, waiting for buses, on Broadway and Hill. The light in Los Angeles takes on a magical quality, like candlelight, and the heat lifts. On Friday and Saturday night, there are clubbers mixed in with commuters, girls with their fancy on and their young men, most with bad taste in cologne.

3. When a whole family stops for an ice cream at a street vendor. They gather, there is an animated debate; they form a cluster on the sidewalk, and usually Dad pays. Little voices are excited.

4. The street washer at 4 a.m. The sounds are usually below me, and I hear them when I have insomnia. There is the occasional bus down 9th street, but the street washer only comes once a week. If I am awake and feeling all the peace and isolation and anxiety that insomnia entails, it is a reminder that there is another human soul out there, awake and thinking, and that the day is coming.

5. Saturday morning, when lofties throng through the street with their week’s arrangements from the flower district. Calla lilies, sprays of miltonia, roses and designer jeans, and probably later, pancakes.

6. When girls going to night clubs encounter my dogs, Max and Tyler, during their evening constitutional, while my courtly spouse receives stares and glares from dates and hookup wannabes. “Oh they are soooooooo cuuuuuuuuuuuuute.” There is bending over, there is giggling, the dogs are made much of, and my nonplussed spouse thinks nothing of the fact that he just received more attention from females half his age than anybody without millions has any right to expect.