It's been a never-ending fog of mugginess and loss, each day another announcement of 100-year old businesses vanquished by high rents and neighborhoods disappearing into someone's idea of an exclusive playground.
Too, it's been a time of slowly saying goodbye to Her New York as things get packed up in one old home and a new home rises from the ashes of failed attempts. In the rushed wanderings, I kept looking for something that called out a city everyone wanted to live in so that they could become themselves.
Outside the front door, on the third floor which was really the fourth floor because the first floor was really the second floor and the lobby was the floor before the numbers started, up on that third floor lived Cindy.
And yeah, I could have walked down from the fifth floor which was really the sixth floor and knocked on her door, but usually I just ran down all the stairs to see if she and B were already there in the courtyard. If they weren't, then our version of cell phones took place.
We'd look up and shout "Cindy" or "B" and someone would stick their head out the window and shout down, "I'm coming down" or "I can't I gotta do homework" or "she's not here".
And when it was time to come home, some mother or older sibling would stick their head out the window and shout, "Mom says come home, supper's ready". And sometimes one mother whose windows didn't face inside the courtyard would have another mother whose window did face the courtyard shout down "Your mother wants you to go home now".
We all shouted up and we all shouted down, our noise filling the courtyard day in, day out, even when we were teenagers and our idea of 'playing' was sitting around in blue eye shadow and sulking or walking the rim of the courtyard talking of God and marriage.
These brick are mamalochen, for the minute I looked up a call came to my lips, the name of a friend now dead a few years or the other, a grandmother in New Jersey. But the courtyard is now politely quiet, silence being an important selling point for apartments no longer considered homes but luxury housing. And I think, well then when you look up all you're gonna see is brick, not your New York. ** Related Posts: Sunday Memories: Mamalochen
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.