Saturday evening, perhaps twenty minutes before the arrival of some friends, as I sat on the Queen Anne, a shadow shape limped into my peripheral. I said Mouse! And then my tone changed immediately as I saw him slump to a stop on the floor just a few feet from me, and close his eyes. …Mouse?
I thought he may have perished before me in that instant, as he did not move when I interrogated him, nor when I stood up.
My mind searched for what I might do about his limp body. I fetched a wooden drawer that I’d just come across the day before, folded a paper towel in, and used a second to pick the poor thing up. He did not so much as blink when I approached, so I knew he must be feeling very poorly, but he was not yet dead..
I set the box on the kitchen table, and put a tiny butter-pat dish of water and some few pieces of granola in, and left him. He moved around a few times, perhaps trying to get comfortable. I’d warned my guests of his presence, and we left him in there while we gathered in the living room.
Hours later after they’d gone, I went in to check on my new charge, and found the box empty, without so much as a thank you. He clearly had recovered, with speed. Lord knows where he is now, but the insolence! Such rudeness!
Next morning after relaying this new to one of my visitors, I could only joke on the disappearance, “Just like a man!” And then there’s me— always taking in broken things.
That’s what some few of we Brooklynites call Manhattan— the ‘Hatters*. Also, Work Island, The Big Town. Often accompanied by a groan (implying the MTA, etc)
I’ve been spending a fair amount of time there the past few weeks, and it’s been brilliant. I’ve had to re-calibrate my perspective; always a healthy pursuit. Seeing my town with fresh eyes. Remembering why I’m here.
I missed my accustomed, promised Thursday post yesterday, but I was okay with it, fine with it, as I’ve been posting nearly every day for a month. Hope you feel soft towards my remiss as well.
For now, enjoy this dynamic of skyscrapers and rhythmic windows in the perceived (and sometimes actual) heart of NYC on a fine sunny day. Looka’ that crane, building more UP!
If you’ve never done, check out This is New York, by Miroslav Sasek. It is timeless New York.
And then there are parts of town that don’t quite feel like New York at all.
I’m always looking for what elements are the disparate ones; what are the real culprits that make it feel different. Sometimes it’s scale; of buildings, of the street or space around the buildings. But sometimes it’s something more invisible. A certain type of window or siding. The way the garden is planted and decorated. Every now and then you come upon a whole city block, and the little shops along its length sport cloth awnings all identical, and you have to look around to assure yourself you’re still in Brooklyn.
The church bells are all pre recorded these days. From far away they sound real enough, but sometimes the volume is up too loud, and if you’re nearby you can hear the distortion.
My brother and I, expecting rain Friday, planned a trip to the Whitney followed by a wander up the High Line. Naturally once we got to the city, the weather had become hot and sunny. It was a good plan anyway, as neither of us had been to the new Whitney, and we saw the Calder exhibit (two of his floor-sitting mobiles pictured below), some of the permanent collection, and selections from the Biennial. Some stunning views from the High Line followed.
As we walked to the train a fine mist began to fall. We’d not brought umbrellas; the rain was meant to wait until Sunday.
Saturday night on the train into town; people dressed to go out, to join the weekend throngs. An unaccustomed moment, as we tend to stay local.
The mist had become rain proper by the time we emerged island-side to East Village sidewalks full of hopefuls. Both establishments we visited for a rainy November birthday gathering were noisy, crowded— brimming with an optimism born in a cul-de-sac of Illogic. (An aspect of youth only fathomable in hindsight.)
I rendered some observations in the Moleskine. Realized too late that I’d only two blank pages left in it; had to retrace steps to the start of the book to find a third. (The filling of this book snuck up on me, despite or because of it being long in the tooth— I started it in June.)
Made our way home through twin deluges— to the train then from it, Brooklynside. Zac somehow beat us to my apartment, his suitcase filling the space between doors of the entryway. Reunion.
Work took me to the isle of Manhattan today. As the meeting was in Chelsea, I availed myself of the opportunity to walk the High Line. A fine afternoon for it, though I wished awfully I had dressed more appropriately for the [delightful] heat. Happy tourists; many languages overheard.
I took a lot of photos. It’s what I do anyway, but at this point I’m practically a tourist myself in the big town. I tend to stick around Brooklyn a lot.
Everywhere is under construction. This city is forever shedding its skin.
A long stroll south on Hudson Street, then inland, and through TriBeCa. (Avoid the hydra of traffic all round the Holland tunnel; 3:30 is rush hour on a summery Friday; mass exodus.)
City Hall. A tangle of angry motorists with their fists on their horns. Cacophony! A thousand arguments for public transport right there.
The perennial wind crossing Whitman’s beloved bridge is welcome today. And, observe: this curious Parisian custom has followed Lady Liberty across the Atlantic.
Ten or so miles to arrive back in my neighborhood, with slightly aching feet. (Why spend 45 minutes on the train when you could spend three hours on foot, seeing so many neighborhoods and people out and about?)