New York, for all that it appears to be merely a major city, is actually the intersection of a large number of parallel universes. In one of these universes, people such as Mayor Bloomberg and things such as the New York Stock Exchange are thought to be important. In another (which remains entirely a closed book to me), sports teams like the Knicks and the Mets occupy people's attention. In a third (equally incomprehensible) strand, names like Macys and Bloomingdales are floated around, and so on and so forth. And somewhere, amidst all the infinite strands that make up the city, there is a universe in which the names that are mentioned admiringly are those of The Hungry March Band and The Madagascar Institute and all the other organizations - doubtless too numerous to list - who chip away at the self-important universes of Mayor Bloomberg and the Mets and Macys, quietly (or noisily) creating neat things on the fringes. Things like First Warm Night.
May 2005 Archives
24-hr party people
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The Great Saunter
I was at about 120th St on the East Side when my phone rang. It was my boss, calling to let me know that one of the test boxes was misbehaving.
“I'll try to get to it later.” I told him.
“I can't come in to the office right now. I'm walking around Manhattan.” He was very polite and didn't press the point, but I could tell that he didn't think it was a valid excuse. I thought of trying to explain. I wasn't walking around in Manhattan. I was walking around Manhattan. The whole thing. From South St Seaport up the Hudson River to the northern end of the island up by the Bronx, then down along the East River and back to the starting point. Thirty-two miles. Fifty-one kilometres.
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To the left of the door of the Orthodox Cathedral of Holy Virgin Protection on 2nd St, a sign declared that it was "A healing alternative to godless secularism". Through the glass doors, the interior of the church glowed with a rich golden light. Outside, a woman wearing a headscarf paced back and forth on the pavement, a cellphone pressed to her ear. From time to time, people would emerge from the cathedral to smoke or make phone calls, then plunge back in to rejoin the Good Friday service.
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