He is of a type, even though ages ago when he was creating his image it was designed to be not of a type. But now it is a most recognizable style, a norm in certain places. And Washington Square is in the heart of Greenwich Village. He was an aging hippie. A white guy in a black tank top, black jeans and with a satchel over his shoulders. I expect that he was working hard to keep his hair unkept and wild -- or rather his hair was thinning and he was just trying to keep it. He wore a red sash for a belt, his only point of color, and was carrying a travel mug full of -- coffee? herbal tea? something with a bit more juice?
It was a sunny day and I was sitting in the square for a few minutes soaking in the sun. The equinox is upon us and these warm days will soon be part of that hazy memory of summer. But right here, right at this moment Washington Square is as alive as could be, and if all the world is a stage, this bench has a front row and this part of the world is Vaudeville. People, pigeons, music, dogs, color and motion.
He walked into the plaza, paused and held out his hand, closed fisted except for his forefinger which was crooked. He stared at a jet black pigeon who was pecking at the pavement a few feet away and called, "Leo, Leo!" The bird looked up and seemed to recognize the voice, and then flew up and settled on the finger-perch. The man fished around in his satchel, "You know I have it in here", he reassured the bird. With a bird on one hand and a coffee mug in the other it can be tricky finding something in your satchel. Eventually he pulled out an almond and fed Leo.
Leo flew off after eating, but not too far. The man spotted Zoe, a grey and black pigeon, and then Sophie, a pigeon with white spots. But the two girls are a bit stand-off-ish at first. So the man finds a bench across the path from me, in the shade and sits for a bit. Leo comes back and the two seem to talk for a while, although I can only hear one side of the conversation.
However, by the time I leave the two girls' desire for almonds has overwhelmed their shyness, and the four are sitting together. Leo on his hand, Sophie on his shoulder, and Zoe balanced on his thinning hair.
I was sitting in St. Vartan's Park having lunch and watching the kids and their caretakers. Since the three and four year olds are mostly white and the women with them are mainly elderly and black or Hispanic, they don't looked related. Being lunch a few men and women whom I think are the parents, arrive for a little while. Their are hugs, kisses and conversations.
But it was one three year old boy, with a wreath of golden curls and the old Hispanic women he was attached to which chiefly caught my attention. He came running over, all smiles and sunshine and pronounced, in long and clear sentences which were beyond his age, "I think we would both like ice cream!" There was a push cart at the corner of the park.
His caretaker started to explain that she was given a budget for that sort of thing and that they had finished spending it yesterday. "I know you have lots of money", said the boy, oblivious to her explanation, in part because he had stuck his whole head into her hand bag. When he reemerged from the inside of her bag he was clutching her wallet. "See Gertrude, you have lots of money!" he announced.
She shook her head, and then waved him off towards the push cart. The golden boy flashed across the playground, with Gertrude shuffling behind. As she passed me I heard her mumble, "I just can't say no to that child."
Later, when I was walking out of the park I again saw the two of them, seated together on a bench in partial shade. The boy was cuddled close to the woman. His legs straight in front of him because they were too short to reach over the edge of the bench. He had a red, white and blue popsicle and she had a chocolate covered ice cream bar and both appeared happy.
When I sit down to write these reports I open up my diary and look for interesting events. Stories that I see, but are not really about us, show up above in the "MicroStories". And then there are the events of Kristina's and my lives. Most days my diary says; "Worked at the Hudson Park Library, ran north to 96th street", which is not the stuff of ripping yarns. But there are gems -- especially on the weekends when the actions of the day are not so well scripted.
Tuesday, Sept 11
Thursday, Sept 13
Saturday, Sept 15
I was disappointed. I think he had latched on the diagrams because of the geometry -- not because they meant anything. It was decoration. It could have been Chinese characters or hieroglyphics and it would have meant as much to him. I think someone had told him the wavy lines were photons, and that matched his image of sculptures as something which reflects light in unexpected ways. I am sure that he worked hard on his selection of metal and picking out the sizes, the off-sets from the wall, but he didn't really bother learning what it was that was being drawn. There are simple stories in those diagrams -- that as a collection made no since.
Yes I am a science snob.
Monday, Sept 17
Tuesday, Sept 20 - Kristina's Birthday
After her talk, 300 people sang "Happy Birthday" to Kristina.
Saturday, Sept 22 - 5th Avenue Mile
When the gun went off I was in the third row, but soon broke to the outside, on the east side of the avenue. There is a slight downhill for the first five blocks (quarter of a mile) and I was flying. I passed the quarter in 76-77 seconds, which was faster then I meant. The next quarter mile to 70th street and the Frick Museum is a slight rise. I feel like I am changing gears, shortening the stride for the hill -- an paying for that quick start. I pass the half mile point at 2:41-2. There is now a bit of a downhill, but not enough to offset the hill we just came up. And then a long flat quarter mile across the finish line and into the chute. I did not have much of a kick at the end.
I ended up in 30th place out of the 210 men 50-54 age group, and yes I think I can do better next time. My time was 5:29. (splits: 76/85/84/84). According to the NYRR that is equivalent to running a 4:44 when you are 23 years old. I guess I have something to work on.
Kristina met me at the finish. I staggered around for a bit, collected my bag and we walked off into Central Park. It is such a beautiful day.
Saturday, Sept 22 (same day) - Kristina's Birthday Celebration
It was a gloriously beautiful day with sunshine and warmth. Robin had to go to practice, but promised to meet us later. So Will, Kristina and I wander though the park and then back to our apartment. Kristina is eager to show Will where we live. You can view all the details of our apartment in less then a minute, so we also took him to the roof top, the park by the Hudson River and along the High Line. We then went to the "Strand Bookstore" - famed for "18 miles of bookshelves".
Back in Chelsea we went to "M-Thai", a very good restaurant.
Sunday, Sept 23
Still, it was time to put Will on the subway and train to Bard. Kristina and I then walked through Brooklyn Heights to the Promenade, then down to the river at the new Brooklyn Bridge Park. The place is mobbed with weddings. If you are married in Brooklyn, are you required to have your portraits taken here?