Strap-hanging all over town.


DSC02095-102, originally uploaded by valleygirl2005.

Lately when I ascend from the 7 I hear rhythmic, pulsing beats from African drums. Reverberating through the tunnel leading to 40th St, with its ‘so tired’ etc. text pieces’, it’s a good mood lifter and the beat sets an encouraging, steady pace for commuter’s steps. The performance is comparable to other good subway regulars. Namely, the group that enthusiastically plays plastic drums at Union Square, a bit of a rarity.

Just as I’’m literally experiencing ‘urban-jungle’, the preformance is replaced by the haphazard sounds of a keyboard, by a guy whose prosthetic leg leans against the wall. A little better than the usual keyboard fare: the guy who just slaps any key confessing through ‘song’ that he has no clue how to sing; and the guys who just play and sing badly. The type of performer sometimes employed by Chinese restaurants, where you eventually learn that you’’ve made a mistake in thinking that there’’s a karaoke machine somewhere. Thankfully, in NY, I only encounter these guys in the subway and haven’’t had to pay for the infliction.

I’’ve also been leaving the studio at more reasonable times and see the illuminated 5 quietly jostle alongside the 6. People are doing the same things or stand by the doors, staring out blankly. It’’s like watching or being in a theatre set. Everywhere is a performance space.

The street is another. You hear the funniest, sometimes quite private thoughts un-edited and verbalised. Damian and I were giggling and trying to comprehend two nerdy types, basically saying ‘‘so, it’s agreed, we’re going to Australia to pick up chicks’’; And fully burst out laughing when a woman, perhaps inebriated, loudly projected ‘‘Ahhh, my stilettos are caught in my too long jeans…, both actually’’.

It’’s an obvious thing to dwell on about NY. I remember the last time I was here (2000), encountering comical outbursts and confrontations on the street, but I’’d almost forgotten the lived experience of all these things that just happen around you.

I only have a couple of weeks left now. I’’ve been scheduling my last appointments and plotting my last gallery run. I’’m going to miss the immediacy, but I’’m also looking forward to returning home. Afterall, home is where the beach is.

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1 comment
  1. Marco Masci said:

    22 Mar 2007 Marco Masci wrote : I like this. You review these everyday performances as if you were writing for the New Yorker or the Village Voice. It’s refreshing, puts a smile on my face and makes me think of all the times that I’ve heard marvelous and crazy shit in the streets and in the subways… Just today I was on the 6 train to work and there was a tall, formidable looking guy pushing his way down the crowded subway car. Obviously a deeply pious man, he stopped right next to me to start preaching to the car (presumably filled with sinners) and urged at the top of his voice: “Men: do not lust at women’s BUTTS, God does not want us to lust at women’s Butts, do not lust at women’s figure’s….” and he kept repeating this over and over before pushing his way along to reach the passengers further along the car… While he was next to me preaching he had his back to me so he couldn’t see the smirk on my face but I had to really bite my tongue and keep myself from saying, “so God says it’s o.k. for us to lust at other men’s butts?” This past Friday we had a snow-storm, after the weather had started warming up… It was such a disappointment. The grey/blackish ice on the side walks has almost melted away as the sunny and milder weather returns. I so wish I was at the beach right now… Hope you enjoyed your time at Straddie! This past weekend I had my interview at Hunter. They interviewed 105 people for 40 positions so wish me luck. I’ve been so nervous and have smoked so many cigarettes… Hope all is well and take care, M.

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