Only a block away from New York’s oldest park, Bowling Green, sits Elizabeth Berger Plaza. This triangular, nondescript green space sits at the entry to Battery Park Tunnel and is an exit for Rector Street Station for the #1 train. Berger Plaza offers potted plants, trees and benches to relax. Historic plaques adorn benches. These commemorate that the location was once called Little Syria – before being displaced by the construction of the tunnel. Undoubtedly a much quieter space then.
The headline from yesterday’s Globe & Mail web page read: Haunting text messages from the ferry disaster. Plus: spring home-buying tips and a DIY Easter egg recipe.
A vaguely intelligent-looking woman in purple jacket and glasses offered a pithy sequence of thoughts in rapid succession. “As the hours tick by and conditions continue to hamper the search, the likelihood of anyone left on board will survive lessens.” “I know personally from anecdotes that some homes get multiple multiple offers. Why is this?” “This weekend will involve chocolate, lots of chocolate, if you’re like me.”How cold can a medium get? (Thanks Lexus)
The city is in ruins, not still smoldering but that feeling there, the sky bright, endless, the depth terrifying and clear. There is nothing. And it is a good thing. Yes, a good thing. It is not that people haven’t been lost. They have. They are distant and gone. There is a gap from that. But not as much as would be expected. The screams have gone, not from dying, but the drunkenness, the all-knowingness, the certitude banged up against in the street, dumb-eyed, suddenly stopped, turning. There is none of that. The quiet is sure. It is a free place, drifted to, away and alone, the climb to the top, the twist through the shoulders, feet firmly planted, hands tight, watching, clear-headed, almost happy with nothing on TV but Gilligan, too poignant, verging on Camus. But the funny thing is I feel good, too good.And I know I should feel guilty about that.
Finally it is time to observe the old ritual/of opening the windows, easily performed.
It is spring./Crocuses break forth. The dogwood trembles/Persephone touches the Earth with her wand.*
(*From Billy Collins’ Spring Fever)
Forget Wall Street, Park Avenue and Broadway. Tunnel Approach and Tunnel Exit Streets, perhaps the most heavily traveled thoroughfares in the city, remain the least visited.Only a few blocks from Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and the United Nations, to say nothing of the Midtown Tunnel, these aptly named streets give access to the city for some 70,000 cars per day. It is true the Tunnel Street sidewalks are narrow.However there is an abundance of artwork Plenty of street foodEven a few wildlife specimens. One only has to look beyond changing lanes to see.
One of the keys to the success of Stephen King’s The Shining is the revelation that the main character, Jack Torrance, is going mad: All work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy.The manuscript on which Jack has been working throughout the story contains this same phrase written again over hundreds of pages and is an excellent device to convey his lose of touch with reality.And it this very device that seems to have been plagiarized from Albert Camus’ The Plague in which Grand’s emotional imbalance is realized late in the narrative when Dr. Rieux reads over a manuscript of 50 pages documenting the same phrase again and again:One fine morning in May, a slim young horsewoman might have been seen riding a glossy sorrel mare along the avenues of the Bois, among the flowers…And while the purpose – and indeed content – is quite different, the device is not. The repeated phrase – a secret held from the reader and all other characters – is only revealed late in the story as a surprise to all. Did King acknowledge his source? Did he give credit to Camus?
Concerts are not always what we expect. Indeed they can be so fraught with the promise of excitement, that they turn into just the opposite. Understanding that some of the worst events have probably been permanently deleted from my brain, I offer the worst concerts which I remember: