Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Bright But Faded Sunday Light



The Pope and the Alamo are gone. I miss the Alamo much more. This was not the Alamo of Davy Crocket and Bowie but a big black cube balanced impossibly on its edge and titled The Alamo. Like most modern art, there was undoubtedly some point behind it but no one cared much, least of all me. It was merely a part of the character of the place. Skaters and punks gathered around it, 15 year old boys falling off their skateboards and teenaged iowa girls trying to impress everyone with their purple mohawks before heading back for pizza at st marks.

The sign where the Alamo used to stand says it will return after renovation, no such sign was left behind with the pope which is probably just as well, as few people in their right minds could tolerate any more news on the pope. On the front pages of every paper he bleeds red and white, the color of his robes and pale face, he lies in his coffin and only the Metro dares to put the Yankees victory over the Red Sox on the front page. The Yankees winning is New York, taunting red sox fans is New York.

At Union Square before the statue of George Washington sword upraised, a protester screams FREEDOM, FREEDOM into his megaphone. He has a much smaller audience than the one surrounding five black kids doing headstands to rap music. "It only takes a little, just a little bit," their boombox appeals as dogs bark and tangle with each other in the fenced off dog park.

It is spring in New York again. Sunlight shines on the age whitened tombstones of New York City's Marble Cemetery. Catches the fierce eye of a blue and orange parrot gnawing at his plastic branch in the window of Wakiki Wally's and troubles a homeless man in army fatigues sleeping by a check cashing place with its neon sign all but burned out and flickering above his bowed head. Sunlight pierces the grimy windows of antiques stores touching old wood, gold and marble, copper and gilt surfaces and gravely polished tables prepeared for just this moment when they can be spread with a tablecloth of light.

Booksellers, battery sellers, pashminas, sweaters, ties; african men with handfulls of DVD's hawk their wares on the edge of the sidewalk dangerously close to the curb where speeding taxis nearly clip them and their ruptured cardboard boxes time and time again. Chinese delivery men flash by on bicyles, yuppies come home from work with white I-Pod's in their ears like snails and in the sunlight the grills of ice cream trucks show their stainless steel teeth.

The winter with its burden of snows, its high buttoned coats and forests of umbrellas is receding now, its memory melting in the warm light. Spring has come to New York again. Clothing is light and the mood is lighter. A 50 foot tall woman strides motionlessly from an advertisement wrapped across the face of the flatiron building. A crowd of men and women walk beneath her carrying briefcases and groceries, handbags and suitcases, envelopes and books; but mostly nothing at all except the light which also impossibly carries them home.