New York Fantasy (Not that Kind)
I met my first blogger while I was there too. I mean, obviously I know people who blog but this was the first time I met someone because they had a blog. Well, not only was this a thoroughly pleasant and stimulating conversation but it took place in Brooklyn, in the very streets where the late departed and still lamented Linus and I used to walk. I loved walking those streets with Linus, back in the day. But this time, in addition to walking with the actual human blogger, I sat on a stoop. I have always wanted to sit on a stoop.
I stayed with my friend Mark even further out in Brooklyn, where he was housesitting for some old
friends. We sat in the garden and smoked and drank coffee and harrumphed about things together happily for hours, out of that strange inertia that happens on holidays when you know you need to get moving but you can't, it is too pleasant not to move, even when other pleasures are the reason you have to move.
Why did I ever leave Brooklyn? Remember that Gershwin song, “We’ll take Manhattan?” Well, they can take it and keep it. I have many favorite things about Brooklyn and one of them is how when I come out of the subway onto the street in a strange neighborhood I don’t know what country I’ll find myself in.
I used to have this fantasy when I lived in New York of just taking photos of bodega windows, the way they have all the laundry soap and the brightly colored cans of stuff stacked up so neatly, I loved looking at those patterns. I didn't happen to have a camera then and I didn't think I could be trusted to use one. I take a lousy picture in both senses of the word. This
trip I didn't see any bodegas but there were no end of marvels. Walking to the subway to meet Mary with all my luggage I couldn't let this window get away from me. Another instance of where sometimes you get more than what you remember. I've added to my fantasy of photographing bodegas the fantasy of adding the department store windows, the places where people shop for the necessities of life (plastic kitchen containers, cheap sheets, baby things, hair bobbles,
boxer shorts, ruffly lacy little girls' dresses, and mysterious gift sets). I don't know why, but I find it touching. My heart is there, somehow.
And later, all I could think about as I walked through SoHo was getting out of it as quickly as possible. I have friends who are artists who live in lofts in SoHo and TriBeca. It must be like waking up one day and finding yourself living above the mall. Not the Fulton Mall but some mall in maybe Gaithersburg or Northern Virginia or the San Fernando Valley. With eleventy-gazillion tourists.
Canal Street reminded me of my third New York Fantasy: starting at one end of Canal Street to the other, and arriving at the other end with a complete outfit, every article of clothing -- including socks and underwear -- and every accessory (watch, fountain pen, the works) a fake, preferably transparently fake.