(June 15-20, 2001) MANHATTAN
A man with a Rastifarian do parked at a Midtown bus stop in a fancy
convertible applying matching blue polish to his nicely manicured
As I approached two men of another race on an otherwise
avenue in Chelsea, one interrupted their post-Midnight conversation to
me with a cheery “How y'doin'?” I responded positively as I neared
He warmly touched my shoulder as I passed.
A woman, also of another race, in a doorway on The Block
Forty-second Street was engrossed with a Yuppiefon. As I neared her, I
She looked up and said “God bless you!”
An enormous Black man, probably straight, clad in
and chains, decorated with tattoos, couldn't decide whether to board an
thus blocking my way. I was unconsciously Following his to and fro
He eventually stepped aside, effeminately flipt his hands near his
and high-pitchedly said “My bad!” with a wry smile that caused us to
A post-performance theatre crowd blocked my passage. I
through it. Among those I somewhat rudely shoved was Matthew Broderick.
An elderly couple just missed their Uptown bus. The
leaning to be seen around me, ordered them to “Get in! I'll catch him”.
didn't get it. “Come on, I'll catch your bus.” They climbed aboard and
fumbling for the fare. “No!” said the driver, blocking the fare box
hand. A man in mid-bus laughingly said “This is New York?!?” thus
an already light moment for the score of us witnesses. I thought,
did not say, 'Yes, indeed! This is New York. New Yorkers
great!' At the next corner, the driver blocked the other vehicle's
and waited for the grateful couple to board.
From a bus I saw the highly recognizable Tom's
hangout of the characters on the television program Seinfeld.
A high-heel'd Roman woman wearing a black dress slit up to glory
a green light, her long blonde hair flowing from her helmet, supporting
motor scooter with a gorgeous, fully-extended, mesh-hosed leg.
other traffic made a photo impossible.
A grandmotherly woman on a Siena bus embarrassed a
of young women by loudly demanding that they arise from their seats,
for war veterans, the infirm, and the elderly, so that my girlfriend
I could occupy them. We were grateful as we were very tired from the
A motorman in Milano gave directions to a woman outside
streetcar. When the man in her company started to dispute the
the motorman crawled under his protective bar and, with stereotypically
gestures, loudly exclaimed “Dio mio!” in a tone of voice that painfully
up us dozen or so passengers. He continued with something that sounded
like “You ask for directions, I give you directions, and you dispute my
Go to Hell!” He huffily returned to his seat, closed the door, and off
went, we fortunates in his presence enjoying a few familial minutes.
A Florentine couple insisted that we share their food
my girlfriend enquired about their dish.
A woman at a Bolognese Chinese restaurant, whose Italian
sounded more fluent than her Cantonese, asked me the English for
She said “Duck-uh”. I said “Duck”. She said “Duck-a”. I said “No,
She said “Ducka”. I said “No! Duck!” She said “Duck . . .”
It was close to a warm Midnight when we finally got to
Spanish Steps that were obscured by the hundreds of people sitting on
Near the bottom were four men with guitars. We positioned ourselves
to one of the two flanking singers who were leading the crowd in
song. When the correct beat and tempo were swung, we were
the little space we needed to dance. The crowd roar'd its
each of the simple basic steps we did. At the end of the
there was a roar that can only be described as an ovation.