Only two things of note in the train as it leaves Greenpoint: the lights being brighter than normal and the smell of the half-eaten banana in the hand of the lady next to me.
All are ghosts. Up the steps, the station is filled with the smell of ammonia – they clean in here? When? Why? Tuesday at 11 am is not something I’m experienced with in NYC mass transit. The trumpet player on the L platform likewise seems confused.
Union Square around noonish. A girl in imitation Persols eyed me sideways on the last leg of the trainride. Maybe they were real Persols. Maybe she wasn’t looking at me at all. Maybe may be may be.
I come out of the station into air like the apples my roommate brought back from upstate. People are yelling at eachother and I’m reminded how this place to me is more New York than the rest of New York – people who defy the phrase “normal” crammed together with people who straddle between homeless and transient. Neither of these nebulae seem to give a shit about anything.
I wait. I grab Thai with a friend. I windowshop. My necessities are nil but I want a pair of brown boots. I’ve never owned brown “nice” shoes and I’ve never owned boots – seems as good a time as any.
6 down to Chinatown to see an optometrist who doesn’t take appointments. There’s a woman sculpting something on the train and another one talking about how modeling is a gateway to designing. I’ve taken my jacket off but everyone else’s scarf and coat stays in place. There is only one man sleeping. He may be the only one here certain of his destination. Maybe. I keep half clearing my throat like I have something to say.
I trail on a man’s heels and mutter an apology he couldn’t gave heard over the train departing. On the street a white pigeon approaches, bobs, retreats.
My destination is the corner of Hester and Mott. Going east, to my right is Chinatown and to my left is Little Italy. A man smokes an overstuffed cigar on the corner and talks with an air of importance in an accent that completes his cartoonish appearance. I feel as though Hester is a trench running the middle of a long fought culture war.
The optometrist is the only non-asian in the storefront and is overdressed in a way that makes me wonder if she’s Jewish.
Then back undgerground. There are always weird things on the track. Umbrellas and maps, fine. But a large plastic wheel from a children’s toy?
Then home and packing for a visit. More on this shortly.