May 4, 2006

The City at Night

I walked home to Brooklyn from Central Park South tonight... about 6 miles. The city was rainy and quiet and strange. Even the rain was preternaturally misty, a downpour without raindrops. In front of Rockefeller Center a woman with a red cape brushed past, soon after a man leading a white horse walked against traffic up Fifth Avenue. Through the window of the empty 24-hour Macdonalds (the one in front of the Empire State Building) a worker stared up at a framed painting of whales in outer space in rapt contemplation. Whales in outer space is the theme of the restaurant; anything to sell a burger I guess. Oblivious to the rain, three men in tuxedos chased each other around in Madison square park and then for a long time it felt as if the sidewalks were totally empty.

On Leonard and Broadway a cab slowly followed me down the street perhaps hoping I would tire of walking, the driver blasting Arabic prayers inside. I did not slow down. A few moment later a flurry of cabs passed each one empty, each one slowing and then speeding up when I did not raise my hand. Seeing each driver I felt I could almost hear their mumbled thoughts ala Wings of Desire. But by the time I hit the Brooklyn Bridge those imagined inner dialogs went silent. The brige was deserted. By this time the rain had cleared and the clouds were hanging low over the river--and the loudest sound was that of the East River rushing by beneath.

Walking down Henry Street most of the lights in the brownstones were off save for one or two people tapping away at their computers always on upper floors. On my street a teenage couple was making out on the next stoop. I tried not to disturb them, but a jangle of my keys sent them scurrying... and now of course time to close my eyes. Good night New York. Good night.

posted at 03:17 AM by raul

Filed under: east coast


05/04/06 11:53 AM

i love walking in new york. i walk to work every morning through chinatown and soho and washington square park and it sets the tone of my day. i always see new things. so much life. then walking home, it's a different space: crowded, sunnier, more touristy. walking gives you time to actually see the city and the weird moments that make it great. this is why i dislike the subway so much. you miss everything.

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