September 28, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on September 27, 2018

Today I’ve got that confusing “tired but energized” vibe going on. I really like this area (Lower Manhattan) which seems to have gotten a vast life injection in the last couple of decades (I mean also from even before 9/11, which of course blew it apart completely). People actually live and play here again, versus showing up for the jobs in the Financial District before then heading home, pulling up the sidewalks behind them, leaving the place virtually abandoned on nights and weekends. That was the non-scene here in the 1970s when I first stopped by this part of town.

Werner and I had dinner together last night and then walked past the Clinton Hall Seaport plaza to the water. We stood at the railing for the longest time, watching lights glisten on the black waters of the East River and the bay, and watching what seemed like a never-ending parade of boats: water taxis, tugs, ferries, yachts, going at various speeds (mostly fast: this is New York), in a nonstop back and forth. Just watching it all was invigorating. Two young men with Citi-bikes were there before us. They left after a long time. Two other young men approached, one talkative, the other mentally retarded and quiet. The latter stood at a corner of the pier and relieved himself, which greatly distressed his talkative friend (and minder?), who apologized to us profusely on his behalf. The mentally disabled man wore a yarmulke; the other man didn’t. We chatted with the cheery one as the now lugubrious (if relieved) one made strange, low noises. It was hard to tell if he was capable of normal speech. The chatty one asked where we were from; he said his father was born in Germany, or that he had family there. I thought he then also said that his mother was a Druze, but when I asked him if I had heard right, he skipped right past answering. At that point the lugubrious one sort of looked at me from under lowered eyes. It occurred to me later to think of them as the strangers of the Old Testament. Or perhaps we were. There’s a bit of the angel in us all, I guess.

I had a long day of walking yesterday. Visited the Cloisters, which involved a gorgeous walk through parts of Fort Tryon Park from the 190th St. subway stop. (The New York City subway system is amazing. Boston should be ashamed, really.) The Cloisters are fantastic, and very peaceful. I did get in an angry mood over the price of lunch at their café. Poor quality, rip off price. Spouting platitudes here, but the collections are impressive and amazing.

I took the train back and sat near an older couple who could have been zombies. Truly the living dead, unwell. They could have been 60 or 80, it was impossible to tell. She was pale and very lined, pink under the eyes, black hair, in a coat on a still sweltering day. He looked “fresher” (a more recently dead zombie?), but mouth-breathed the whole time, like a non-dead dead person.

The train was express, so I got off at 59th. I had put it in my head (very erroneously) that the Dakota was at 86th, and I took a train back up that way. Of course it’s at 72nd, so I walked all the way back down. Then through the park, thinking I’ll use the $25 admission (which I paid for the Cloisters) to see the Met, too. Another mistake and stupid assumption on my part: I exited the park way south of 72nd, practically back at 59th, and then walked all the way to 81st/ 82nd again to the Met. God.

By now I was feeling jaded, but the Met was actually so worth it. I’ll spare myself the platitudes about the art, though – except to say: early Renaissance; 19th century European (French); Greek and Roman. Anyone who disses Western culture is a fool, an ignoramus.

Walked to Lexington / 86th and took the number 6 train to City Hall. Met Werner, went for dinner, and then to the waterfront to be with angels.

(We’d both be very interested in moving here.)

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