It’s been over a year since I posted one of the “Overlooked Manhattan” series, and it’s time I got back to it with one on East 36th Street, which most New Yorkers only know as an outlet to the Midtown Tunnel.
But there is more! Not only are there secret gardens.
But there are also the Missions for Chad and Armenia.
Got to keep my eyes open in this city. Looking for more.
He sits across from you, one earplug in, as he espouses on the failings of the world – and you – and begrudgingly takes your five dollars. “You are wrong. Nobody has said anything dumber.” He’s out of tobacco and would like to squat your living room for the winter.
He rambles on, first about the barter system, then on the meaning of work until he starts a full tirade on the failure of representational government, everything you need to know and how you can change, all that just by being like him. He ambles off, briefly holding back the subway doors just for the fuck of it, and vanishes up the stairs.
How stupid are these 75 million people that don’t want the vaccination? Answer: Very stupid. I am fed up with reading about “the individual’s right to decide what goes into his body” or how the conservative talk show is “regretful” when he gets the disease.
Here’s my suggestion to these 75 hundred million dummies: Ask Siri like you ask her all of your crazy-ass questions like “Is Donald Trump the smartest man ever?” or “Where can I buy a missile?” But this time ask this normal question: “How can I avoid getting Covid-19?” Any guesses on the answer?
The problem is that they believe in “I Am Legend” logic. This supposed cure for Covid-19 is the same as the cure for cancer in the movie and will actually turn us all into zombies. Just you wait and see.
The gag we keep hearing from these 75 million goofballs is that they don’t believe in science. Which of course means that they don’t believe in the sorcery of phones and computers. Yeah, I guess you could say I’m sick of this narrative.
2020 was a distinctly bad year and is burned into my memory. It wasn’t just the pandemic, although that sure had a motherfucking big role. Not will I soon forget the dark days of New York’s Covid Spring, the eerie silence punctuated by the banging of pots and pans at dusk.
2020 was a lot of other bad things too.
I was attacked on a Zoom call in front of the entire faculty by an angry woman who claimed that I discriminated against black students. It didn’t matter that none of it was true nor that she knew none of the students nor even that many, including my black colleagues, called immediately afterwards to express their outrage. It was ugly and awful, and I had just been laid off. I was never given the chance to respond nor ever received an apology.
I received a call from my mother’s caretaker with the news of my mother’s death. It wasn’t sudden – it was more of a relief – but the image of the fire escape stairs and the multitude of drinks along with repeated viewing of the climax of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (my mother’s favorite opera) are indelible memories. As was the Zoom funeral that followed.
I had both of my knees replaced and was stuck in a hospital room with no air conditioning, the bedsheet sticking to my back. They didn’t do anything about it until a day later when they noticed that my temperature was high, and I explained the connection.
Notable members have included Thomas Dewey (New York Governor), Franklin D Roosevelt, Wendel Wilkie, and Grover Cleveland, the only person to serve non-consecutive terms as president. Current members are mostly lawyers or financers.
The club was used almost exclusively for lunches and billiards back in the day, only offering overnight accommodations to members and guests beginning in 2016.
All of that said, Covid-19 has closed it up pretty tight.
Covid-19 Exhaustion has set in. The distancing tape is peeling, masks are hanging and the stores and subways are packed again. What is going on?
I guess all of the signs have been up too long, and we need new words to remind us that the pandemic is still here.
Perhaps we should send dead people to walk the street?
Or maybe a sign like this: Do we not remember what happened in March? Do we not remember being stuck in our apartments? Do we not remember the silence of the city? The empty streets? The death tolls? Are we that fucking stupid?
For all the complaining about Trump, maybe we deserved him in the end.
New York is known for its drinking establishments, most especially the ubiquitous Irish Pubs. The Irish Punt, like most of these places, offers a wide selection of drinks, a relaxed ambience as well as a friendly and most knowledgeable service staff.
Located at 40 Exchange Place in Downtown Manhattan, steps from The Stock Exchange, The Punt hosts everyone from security workers and teachers to stock brokers and executives, all with the same, simple desire – a drink (or two) in a secluded spot.
The Punt has served New Yorkers and tourists alike since 1995 and now, given the Covid-19 restrictions, needs our support. It’s safe as safe can be – I myself have visited a few times lately – and just like you remember it. So come on out and ask if McPhedran is around. I might even buy you a drink.
I just needed a couple of keys cut, but these guys needed everything. I couldn’t tell if they were drunk, on heavy meds or just done with the whole Covid Thing. They had masks on, although the older guy’s mask barely hung over his disheveled beard while his younger companion pulled his mask down every time he talked. That’s a weird pattern of many people during these trying times. Makes you think they don’t understand what the purpose of the mask is in the first place.
Anyway, drunk, drugged or just weirded out by the Covid days, neither of these guys used an inside voice nor seemed to care about the others in the store.
“I need a chair!” The older guy half yelled, almost like he was in pain. “I got to sit down.”
His companion, maybe in his early 30’s, pulled his mask down and went up to cashier. “I need a chair.”
She frowned. “You need what?”
“You know, one of those folding chairs, for camping. A chair.”
The older guy sat down heavily on the stairs. “I don’t need to buy a chair! I just need to sit!”
“Oh, okay.” The companion wheeled back and forth. “We don’t need a chair then.”
“I need a lock!” The older guy slumped forward, his hoodie cloaking much of his face, an exhausted Obi Wan Kenobi. “Come on!”
“What kind of a lock?”
“You know! A lock!”
“Okay.” He turned back to the cashier. “We need a lock.”
“What kind of lock?” She asked nervously.
“What kind of a lock do you need?” The companion asked the older guy.
“When I get home, I need to lock my stuff up so no one can get in, right?”
“He needs a lock.”
“Do you mean the cylinder?” The woman asked.
The companion looked back. “Do you mean the cylinder?”
“I need the damn lock, man! Get me the best one!”
“The best one you have, all right?” He repeated to the cashier.
The cashier wandered off, unsure of what to do, while another cashier came available for me. I gave him my keys. “Three copies of each, please.”
The other cashier returned. “What kind of lock do you need?”
“I need a damn lock to keep people from taking my stuff, man!” The old man was really yelling now. “Like you have when you come home? I need that!”
“We don’t have that. I’m sorry.”
The younger guy didn’t seem to care about any of it, like it was all a long and winding game. “They don’t have it.”
“What about a pressure cooker? They got that?”
He turned to the cashier. “Do you have a pressure cooker?”
“They don’t have it.”
“Pots and pans. I need pots and pans!”
“Okay.” The young guy was smiling crazily, like he was unsure of where he was and what this was all about. “Do you have any pots and pans?”
My keys were cut. “Thank you.”
“Soups! You got any kind of soups? Jiffy Pop! I need that.” It didn’t look like they were going anywhere soon.
Hassidic Elder: In the street! Even in the street.
Middle-aged Non-Hassidic: It will pass.
Hassidic Elder: Next they’ll be strip searching us.
Middle-aged Non-Hassidic: All things will pass.
Hassidic Elder: I hate it.
Middle-aged Non-Hassidic returns to reading his paper.
It’s a half-crowded train on the AM rush hour. Everyone wears a mask. The train pulls into Fulton Station where more people get on, masked except for a slight black woman. A policeman comes to door of train. She looks up, ready to argue. The policeman offers her a mask. “Would you like this?” She smiles sheepishly, takes it and puts it on.
Rosie Perez comes on the intercom as the train pulls out. Wearing a mask shows respect to others. And it’s the law. Come on, New York, we can do this.