Wednesday, August 21, 2013

8/11 6:00PM, Grove and Bleecker

The attempt to write more continues. As Doma is better known these days as a defunct marriage protection act as opposed to a similarly defunct coffee shop on Perry Street, I have settled this evening at Angelique on Grove, right down from Marie's. A favored spot of late New Yorker Bridget Reilly, who took her little sister here for lunch the first time she visited New York.

In the days of Doma, I would use those wide windows to watch for friends I knew in the neighborhood; in those days, not a few people. I would especially keep an eye out for Stephaun, hoping to catch him strolling down Seventh Avenue, taking care of some errand or another---returning with dry-cleaned shirts, or off to have a trim at the salon.

The streets these days have many squalling babies on them, pushed in strollers by blonde mothers, or sometimes a pair of fathers, and more often than not, bored-looking nannies. Stephaun used to complain about this, cross about how "the breeders" (a term I'd never heard until I met him) were changing the face of the neighborhood. It is true that things are changing---I would always inevitably run into drug dealers and prostitutes while making my way through the neighborhood after dark. Nowadays, I see no such people, only more babies, more blonde women with maintenance fees to the tune of hundreds.

There are many couples, too; dumpy folks from out of town gawping into shop windows, teenaged street kids with neon hair, but mostly people of a blandly well-off sort. Slim, shaded from the sun, wearing whatever is in season casually draped on their frames as the designers must have intended.

(As a side note: it is, I believe, lazy design if you can't imagine how your garment will hang on a person who isn't impossibly thin. If you can only get your pleats to fall a certain way on a flat surface, it says little for your ingenuity. Think of the pioneers, building cities from land that rich and expansive---nevermind that the prairies were mostly flat, the comparison was not meant to be interpreted literally.)

I was part of a pair of my own, walking down these streets. Stephaun would walk me back to his place at five in the morning, loaded from eight straight hours of drinking. It was not suitable for me to go home to Bushwick, miles away. I must be taken care of. And he did, always pulling out his couch and handing me coverlets, which I would leave neatly folded after sleeping two hours, then getting up to leave for school.

More children, a steady stream---two twin girls with an baggy-eyed woman trailing behind them, a redheaded boy with a handsome Italian father, a little girl in scruffy tomboy clothes.

Greg Taubman, seeing me for the first time like a grown-up woman, hair done, neatly dressed, walking me out of the bar for a kiss outside Sheridan Square. I wasn't just an odd duck anymore, not a little sister to tease, but someone he could really feel something for. I've been part of that pair ever since, many neighborhoods becoming our stomping grounds between then and now.

Greg and I have talked about leaving, going somewhere new. There is a part of me that is ready to find someplace as exciting as the New York my older friends all talk about, but something else isn't so sure.  won't ever know this place like Stephaun did, before the boom and the crash, before Giuliani and Bloomberg. But I am here now. Whether or not an era has passed is debatable, though to argue it defeats the purpose. What I do know, is people will keep streaming down these streets. They will keep coming, no matter what, the straight-shouldered and the screaming, the wild and the worn-down. When I go, if I go, no doubt, there will be somebody else to take my place, looking curiously at people passing by a sidewalk cafe.

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