Sketches of New York

Brooklyn

  • Amity St. brownstone steps strewn in cotton webs and piles of pumpkins, slowly collapsing in on themselves with a grin.
  • Degraw St.: tandem bike rolls past, bear of a dad up front with a face-painted tiger girl on the mini-bike in the back.
  • Bergen St. in the F train. Black laptop bag without owner. First thought: “bomb?”
  • Sitting on a painful park bench, watching cars and water flow by with coffee to go and good comics. Read until my hands froze.
  • Slick benches in the F train. Slid half a metre when the train stopped at Jay St.
  • Counting cool old black men in cool old hats all day. 27 so far.
  • At every stop in the F train the guy under the baseball cap across from me looks up over my shoulder out the window. His eyes tick back and forth, left and right, like crazy marbles.
  • Smith St.: male model type, walking his Chihuahua, talking to his hand, “…the cheddar suit was great…”
  • Late night half-full F train. All whites are awake, all blacks asleep.

Soho

  • Teenage salesman in incense overloaded Tibetan shop asks me to identify his Buddhist statues for him.
  • Remarkable number of unusually good looking people everywhere, and just as many uncomfortably fat people.

Chinatown

  • Fragile young lady dressed like a neon green sequined orchid exits a glaringly bright boutique with two guys in suits supporting her train, and goes into the shadowy doorway directly next door and up the stairs.
  • Huge guy with at least 20 Yankees logos on his body, yelling into his hand, “…in the studio today, you shoulda been there nigga! My new album be like James Brown and Fifty Cent rapin’ Justin Timberlake…”

Uptown

  • Waiting for the F train, two guitarists playing on the stairs. Him: ragged look, ragged rhythm, Ireland stickers on the ragged guitar case. Her: red hair, Gaelic stickers, haunting voice. A train came, they packed up and got in, taking their small crowd with them.