Tuesday, October 12, 2004

NY wrap blog.

It’s late, I’ve been frenetically occupied with one thing or another all day and into the evening, but I will ward off sleep a few more minutes. Enough time for one more short about New York City. There’s not much more to tell, anyway, except for that feeling I got that I was a good deal further away than the 1,000 miles from Chicago to New York. That feeling was a fleeting moment, so fleeting that only on recollection does it have any shape.

I headed south from Cooper Union and Cooper Square, toward a spot on my map called Old St. Patrick’s Church. I knew it would be closed, but I wanted to walk past anyway, making it the furthest point away from my hotel, after which I’d loop back via Broadway back to Midtown. I walked down Bowery, a street with its own weight of lore, and crossed East Houston. The blocks at that point become considerable shorter. I took a right on Prince St., entering a district of narrow streets and storefronts, mostly closed and dim.

But at the narrow corner of Prince and Elizabeth stands the Café Habana, a small but well-appointed restaurant busting out with people that Monday night. Its lights splashed out into the corner, and its sounds did too. There was nothing unusual about the crowd, mostly youngish people out for Cuban fare. At that corner I also had a view of the church I’d come to walk by, Old St. Patrick’s, which was behind a tall brick wall, at least 10 feet of orange brick I think, forming a wall that must have been standing since the days of Tammany Hall. The church itself was overlaid by shadows and hard to see, but the wall caught the low ambient light well enough.

This scene struck an odd chord. I can’t say I felt like I was in Europe, or Asia, or anywhere that specific – just far away. Further than the map indicated.


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