Yesterday I walked around my neighborhood. Slightly too chilly for my thermal shirt, denim jacket and corduroys...in other words, perfect. Bright and early in the East Village means a certain level of calm and quiet, with oldsters out buying the Saturday paper a day early, some hungover dog-walkers, store owners sweeping their sidewalk narrowly within the borders of their stores projected on an invisible line to the sidewalk, a few dedicated scribes in coffee shops with laptops, toast and black coffee. Stopped into Odessa to get a light-no-sugar and tasted the sweetness from where the pre-loaded cup had been emptied. Adjusted the brown bandanna (a remnant of a past relationship, if not a remnant then a reminder) that was sliding down over my eyes and hardly sheltering my shower-wet hair. I walked to Tompkins Square, past the homeless group milling about, awaiting the Christian meal truck, past the empty chessboard tables in the area where Tent City used to be. I sipped my coffee and strolled in lazy loops, pausing on a bench, balancing my phone between neck and ear as I wiped the stray coffee from my pants leg. I rounded the large paved expanse in the middle where small film crews and photogs often pause. I passed the playground, the dog run, and found a happy spot in the middle of the park. When the leaves are all on the trees, you feel sheltered, and it's as if there are no buildings surrounding you. Peering through the trees in November, you can see the tenements and occasional high-rise cross-hatched by the bare branches. I happily kicked some leaves, as no pile of leaves should be left unkicked. I passed the Parks Department man who was leaf-blowing and smiled, perhaps too late. At the east end of the park I saw a gathering outside the old church. Was it a wedding? Funeral? Just a Saturday mass? I walked along the eastern edge of the park, passing my family's ancestral home on 7th Street.
It was nice to have company on my solitary walk, even by way of cell phone. I'd have enjoyed it either way, but it was quite pleasant.
Autumn. New York. Cliche? Perhaps. Wonderful.