The severed heads had been put on pikes for all and sundry to see; made examples of. The unseasonably warm autumn weather made grotesques of each— death masques submitting to rot and gravity; to the punishments meted by the state.
Passersby turned their heads, and covered their faces with kerchiefs, but there was no ignoring such a brutal and noisome spectacle.
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.
What was intended to be an excursion into Bushwick yesterday afternoon left us stranded in Williamsburg as the L train chose to go no farther than Lorimer. So we began with a beer at Union Pool, into which I’ve not stepped foot in many years, and whose backyard has greatly improved.
We followed that with a visit to Bushwick Country Club, new to us both. Not in Bushwick, nor a country club, but a cheeky dive bar, where plastic dinosaurs serve as proxies for the second of each two-for-one happy hour drink. The tall narrow window that looks onto the yard brightens the otherwise cave-like interior during afternoon hours.
In the yard, a petite mini-golf course crumbles voluptuously, having seen better days before the ravages of seasons. No doubt it retains some of its erstwhile cheer on sunnier days.
Some geometric compositions from a quiet wander last Saturday, late afternoon as the light drained from the sky. This building has such gorgeous moulding. The Ninth Street subway overpass is weirdly beautiful, too.
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?)