Note contest at the end!
Some time ago I was waiting on a traffic light topping the very steep incline of West 165th street by Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. On one side of the street, going downhill, was a man in baggy jeans and flapping windbreaker riding a supermarket shopping cart at impressive speed towards the teeming traffic below on Riverside Drive. On the other side of the street, striding uphill, was an attractive woman en route to some appointment, confirming plans on her cell phone while sporting giant red bubble shoes, polka dot balloon pants, an elegant haircut, a bowler hat, and full white face clown makeup. Being delighted to be exactly where you are may be an aim of Zen; it’s also one of the reasons those of who–with or without the ♥– love NY.
I never thought I would end up in New York. Growing up in the nearby suburbs was too confined for me but not in the way people usually mean: my future self positioned me on a country estate, writing novels, coming to the city only occasionally to meet with my publisher or to take my future children to the Nutcracker at Christmas time. I tried to get far away twice in my adult life: once at college and once in my mid twenties.
Then I married an immigrant who thought NYC was everything one needed in life. Visions of free standing houses and space and gardens still danced in my head but we’ve only made it as far north as the Riverdale section of the Bronx, 10 blocks from the city line.
I also was on my cell phone at the same time the clown woman was, talking to a bored friend who lives amidst my coveted rural splendor in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. And that was the day I got it, this New York thing that keeps me, uneasily, here, in this messy reuben sandwich of details and random juxtaposition. The day of the clown lady and the flying supermarket cart is the day I credit with making me know enough to take this picture, some years later one afternoon on 5th Avenue and 62nd street.
Here’s the challenge: How many parking tickets are there? Send in your count!
The first 3 winners get a signed print. Deadline: January 21