Saturday, October 9, 2010


Left Eric and Mimi's at 11.30 after a very good dinner, filled with roast rack of lamb and good red wine and excellent cheese that really did lie down and cry, and decided to walk back to Brooklyn from East 21st Street. Down Broadway, past the clubs, the lines, the very short skirts and very high heels, past bags of trash on sidewalks waiting for pick up, past garbage trucks collecting the contents of street trash cans, posted at every corner, down past Spring Street, a look left to see the red awning of Balthazar and its own clutch of suited patrons in the yellow lamplight, on past Grand Street and our friend Dan's offices on the left, Broadway quiet now, no clubs on the main drag, crossing Canal, all shut up, no tourists buying knock offs from dark West Africans, past Federal Plaza where we had our interview for Vince's greencard in January, on to City Hall where the irrigation system in the lawn had sprung two huge leaks that poured straight up and over the sidewalk, past the sign in the grass saying Passive Recreation Only No Team Sports, across the park and onto Brooklyn Bridge, blessedly empty now, past midnight, just a few strollers and cyclists heaving up the incline, the Frank Gehry building now fully clad on the right, the Woolworth behind us in uplit ornate stone and green copper, a cool breeze but not cold with the walking. The cables of the bridge an orderly and exact beauty, the flag on the far side flapping, Manhattan's lying limp. Walking above the traffic where three cars were snarled in a rear ender with police lights flashing and buckled bonnet and broken glass, a girl leaning over the balustrade from the boardwalk to see what was happening in this exciting New York, a seagull flying past, down towards the harbour, wings in spotlit white, the yellow lights of Staten Island making it seem a familiar town, just across the water. The temperature showing 17'C/63'F on the Watchtower building, and down into Brooklyn past Cadman Plaza under the plane trees and into Brooklyn Heights, following Vince's running route, turning to his rhythm, on dark streets not of my habit, and walking down Henry, the last few blocks on tip toe as my shoes unused to walking far bit into my heels, stopping at the corner deli to buy cat food for the cat's emergency breakfast, pellets having run out with his dinner, seeing the Middle Eastern owner giving the methadone addict his sandwich for the night, an old man bent double and permanently plugged into headphones. Crossing Atlantic, the new bar on Henry where lights and voices spilled onto the sidewalk while apartments slept above, turning up to the brownstone steps, climbing the stairs, smelling pot on the first floor, hearing the cat start to yell as we hit the second, key in lock, open door, home at 1am.


  1. A night in the life.

    What was the cheese?

  2. Reading you I was there, i could even hear the sounds of the city that never sleeps...

  3. Wonderlik!
    I could see it, smell it, taste it.

  4. I've read things like this in places like The New Yorker.

  5. My heart rate is up and I'm awake pre coffee, unheard of.

    That was quite a walk we just took.

    xo Jane

  6. There was a time when you and Vince just - wouldn't - do - that. It's worth appreciating.

  7. Did you use a recorder while you walked? Otherwise I don't know how you could recall all that detail.

  8. Rob - Explorateur, not rare, but delicious. It collapsed all over the place...

    Anyes - I'm glad, I hoped to be able to do that, a little.

    Petro - there was only one bad smell, on the corner of 21st and Broadway, and you just reminded me of it :-)

    dinahmow, why, thank you, Ma'am!

    Karen - it was, and a perfect cool night for it.

    Ms Jane - Hopefully we can do it together one day.

    Frank, you think? It's true I've bailed from there a few times in cab, a splurge. Now you've got me thinking...

    Aw shucks, Ms Hound...

    Pam - hm, don't know. I could have made it longer, I'm afraid - I find it easy to remember everything, I just see it, like a movie. If I think a bit harder I remember things I'd forgotten already...

  9. Marie,

    No, really. Always watch your back no matter where you are, but I mean, in my earlier years in NYC, it was a very different place.

  10. Oh, I misunderstood, Frank - I thought you meant the walk would be too much trouble, as in hard work.

    Got it. The only weird walk I took was once, on my own, in a short white dress (glowed in the dark), between 5th Ave in Park Slope back to Cobble Hill, down a deserted street near some projects where I felt, hm, maybe this wasn't such a good idea. I do put lots of feelers out when I'm on my own, and walk like I mean business, but I guess I let my guard down more with Vince who's nice and big. But I do consider the general hoods I hang in to be safe. Yeah, those two guys were shot in Flatiron District the other morning, hip hop club, SUV...

  11. Love your blog. We've got a rooftop patio here in Stuttgart/Germany, and we've been totally redoing it. Eventually I'll post something on it on my own blog, but for the time being I'm having fun gathering inspiration. Your blog is wonderful; beautifully photographed, too. Kudos.

  12. I've been reading a lot of good stuff lately and this from you is the best of it. Thank you.

  13. Didn't check your blog yesterday.
    Skande. Beautifully written. What a privilege to experience a city at midnight and beyond, safely

  14. It's only proper to go on exploring the city after having discovered Explorateur cheese. I can't say I knew about it, but I'm hooked. More personality than Boursault, creamier than Saint André, gutsier than Brillat Savarin, a gem...

    P.S. Modern New York at night feels a lot safer than most French cities ever will...


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