Tuesday, December 23, 2008

One NY Post, on the go...

I forget how much wandering is an integral part of my being. Our flight pushed back, my mother and I return to the just-packed-up Brooklyn apartment, rebuffed at the airport. We're going to miss Christmas, but neither of us seems to mind. We've had good dinners with family before, this thanksgiving in fact, and we're pretty sure it'll happen without us.

The brownstone on President St. undergoes a role reversal due to the 3 hour journey with baggage and all, it is now home rather than a place of departure. We've arrived, in-between time, and without priorities. The structureless-ness caused by this stolen freedom (because we shouldn't be here, really) unlocks the wanderer.

I head out into the bitter cold and begin to walk, headphones on. I walk until there is no more Brooklyn, along streets where black faces look into my solitary white one, rather than the scene I've grown used to. The music is good and I look deep into everyone's eyes on this cold street, I see more than a few friends in the multitude of strangers finishing their day.

I come to a point where I have to decide: take the Manhattan Bridge into Chinatown below Canal St or the Brooklyn Bridge to Civic Center. I begin to walk across the Manhattan, scuffing and scuttling over the ice. The sun is beginning to set, I follow the bridge's subtle parabola and take in the sheer weight of its industrial repetition.

The bridge, the night, the silence, the cold, it's all so beautiful. All the more so for the wrought iron, the caging in, the infinite depth of human experience that is New York juxtaposed with the ubiquitous authority of the cage. I like the fences, the turnstiles, the barriers, the routes of New York, because they physicalize the kind of melancholy that makes this city such an astonishing place. The people I pass on the bridge are few and far between, the occasional biker or man walking alone. Their eyes are cold, blasé, and guarded. Mine are not, they are ablaze, undefended, open. A characteristic that has flaws, to be sure, but I couldn't and wouldn't trade it. I am in awe of what I see from the bridge, in awe of the bleakness of the walk and the richness of experience. I love it, love that it isn't simple. I love the weight of the bridge with its army of ghostly riveters and the way it shakes from the volume of humanity passing over. I love the graffiti-soaked walls and film-noir streetlamps and how much these settings don't belong to me as a visitor, but I am powerless to recreate them in my own home town.

I look down into the Bladerunner-esque Chinatown below and imagine hurtling through gridlock on a bike, swimming in the barracaded humanity. It makes me smile and warm, though I am cold.

I grab some dim sum to warm up, the music's still good, and I walk back over the other bridge. It's slippery and covered with tourists.


Esther said...

Ooh Davey, this is beautiful. I'd definitely like to see more pieces like this in your blog, but perhaps they're so special because they are few and far in between.

The way you describe things is so beautiful, but in a much different sense than that word is usually used in. It's hard for me to explain what it is, but words that pop into my head are technical, metallic, urban...I'd love to read what a mountain scene is like in your style.

I read this soon after you first posted it, but didn't get a chance to comment, and I remember it differently than reading it over this second time. Did you add to it?

Anyway, maybe because you were in NY and describe a bridge, and it so happens that BSNYC wrote about bridges in NYC last week, the two posts came together in my mind and I started to think...what if Davey is somehow the Bike Snob!!! ;)

Davey D said...

I know, hilarious, huh? I was amazed at how much my pictures look like his. We were on those two bridges at more or less the same time, I got passed by a dude who looked suspiciously jaded and comfortable with his bike... who knows? :)

I recently added pictures to the post, but haven't changed it since NY. I also overused the word 'sheer,' and took 2 of 'em out :P.

Thanks for the comments Esther, I'll try to write more, I only feel like it in certain similar moods. I'll try to get the gamut of my emotions out there.

Elaine said...

thanks for the voice mail and the email. i'm feeling much brother-love.

i'm so happy you got to stay to really let loose and wander. i've forgotten how much wandering means to me, and the one night in brooklyn and greenwich village was just enough to remind me without really giving me what i wanted.

it was great to be in new york with you. i love reading what you write so i can keep up with you as my brother and as the fascinating human being you are.

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