Overlooked Manhattan: The Irish Punt

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.

Covid Days: The Hardware Store

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 unsure of where he was and what this was all about. “Do you have any pots and pans?”

“I’m sorry.”

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.

New York Subway Scenes: The Days of Covid-19

Hassidic Elder: I hate these masks.

Middle-aged Non-Hassidic: I hear you.

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.