NYC In Pieces

HOYT HOYT HOYT repeated the subway tiles, monotony smeared with filth.

10398733_716962394542_659480_n.jpg

Her liquid eyeliner eyes scanned me up and down- looking for designer items, or something-before smirking and marking a face at her friend in a mask of makeup. A third girl asked, “Who do you think, like, owns the subway?”

I’ve never seen three women dress so similarly without an mascara flick of irony. Each bore Michael Kors accessories, a fashionably understated button-up, tight jeans tucked into knee-high riding boots, ne’er to grace a stable. I smiled at their disdain, hoping to freak them out and also thinking about all my weird that they couldn’t see and judge: my t-shirt on backwards, tag nestled in between my collarbones, the blood drying on the inside of my jeans, my watch clearly not on time, a killer hangover buzzing loudly in my forehead. Did these girls hide similar humanities beneath their uniforms?

163612_915317324672_1305630_n.jpg

Union Square- Saturday Morning

I’m one of the people sitting on the steps, among loads of people, watching other people, assessing dogs and feeling the warmth of the sun. “Yes to chess!” shouts a man in a gaudy baseball jacket, trying to lure strangers into a game. I become a background figure in several selfies, Asian tourist shots and a small television segment.

pasted image 0 (2).png

We board our vessel south. It’s possible to never once talk to another and it’s possible to spin the five hours into fine conversation threads. At the intermission, some venture outside to take advantage of the remaining sun. We stand each of us alone, in a vacant parking lot, staring at nothing, scattered like stone markers in a graveyard. (Alternate title: Anyone Else Taken the Bus to NYC?)

166667_915317429462_5219883_n.jpg

I crane my neck to see the stories of windows punch the sky. I try to imagine the teeming masses the building contains and then pass another and another. At 72nd and Broadway, people extend arms, the long wave of vehicular necessity. Equinox, Cafe Paris, a shuttered cupcake boutique from a bygone fad will eventually give way as I travel north…to Cinderella Eyebrow Spa and Checks Cashed Here. Crowds are no longer at petite candle-lit walnut tables but perched on stained stoops, empty shopping cart watching the traffic creep by. This transition repeats all over the city, stretching and splitting, overlapping and lying together.