Sunday, September 6, 2015

The East Village as a Roman Ruin
And a Sunday Memory

He was a real tour guide because every time he started talking and pointing, the crowd of cargo-pants-backpack-wearing-camera-snapping people surrounded him, leaning in to catch every word he said, and then the minute he stopped talking, they started snapping pictures at whatever he had just  pointed to.

And at the corner of 1st and 2nd they were snapping pictures of what was once a gas-station.  A place where thousand taxi-drivers - none of them Robert DeNiro, most of them immigrants, all of them working 12-hour shifts currying millions of us around - took brief moments of rest and refueling.  A clean bathroom, some good coffee, friends to catch up with... luxury.

There were rumors around the neighborhood that the corner would become 50,000 square feet of luxury apartments and 7,000 square feet of luxury shops.

It seemed that tour guide was pointing to East Village antiquity - remnants of moments when luxury meant a place taxi drivers could afford.

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