It’s something, the way everything is so different from what it was, for everybody. Whenever I do go outside I try each time to get a look at the Empire State Building to see how she’s doing and how she looks, standing there in her spot. Sometimes on rainy or foggy days she has a way of disappearing completely, like a magic trick. I know you’re in there, funny old lady. 

A few days ago I read an article written by a person who felt that time had stopped in March, with the pandemic wreaking its havoc, and that March never left. March stayed throughout spring, summer, and fall, and it’s still March now. It made me think of stories I’ve read about the A-bombs dropped on Japan and how the clocks stopped at the moment of the flash. I too feel like March has been here all along. It’s felt like one big long day, but so much has happened. A lot of it I’ve watched from my windows, which face a big avenue where things play out all day and all night. There’s an empty building on one of the corners, covered in graffiti, and that corner has become the neighborhood theatre. 


It used to be that I would walk by the Irish Repertory Theatre on weekends and see a lot of old ladies in the little lobby with glasses of wine in their hands. They were good advertising. Once I got a ticket on a whim to see a play with Marsha Mason in it. I remember  looking at the poster and thinking, Oh, I remember her. I’ll get a ticket. She was very funny in it. She played an Irish grandmother. She had a monologue where she described going into a sex shop and buying some kind of gadget. In the audience were all kinds of old ladies, and old men, too. In February, before the lockdown, I went up to the Met with a friend to see Cosi Fan Tutte. The set was Coney Island, and a lot of the supernumeraries were real Coney Island sideshow performers, including a wonderful big snake. 


I once held a Coney Island snake for a picture, a sweet lady snake.Two boys had her next to the Cyclone, and they were asking for five dollars to hold her and have them take a polaroid, so I did. I gave the snake a kiss on her cold little cheek. During intermission at the opera, I thought things were looking a little rundown. There was peeling red velvet wallpaper, and when the Swarovski crystal chandeliers were pulled up in to their gold hiding places at curtain time, I saw that there were places in the vault of the ceiling that looked to be water damaged. I thought of the documentary I saw in a movie theatre down near Union Square about the Met, and how those chandeliers came to be because of an ink accident on the plans. And I thought of Leontyne Price, who starred in that movie, and how once upon a time my Ma took me to see her sing.


My friend and I sat up in the nosebleeds. I always wear a mask in crowds in winter, I have for a long time because of certain health things, best to be careful et cetera, so I and my friend both wore one. Nearby was a young woman who coughed through the whole opera. It was a very strange cough, and very annoying. I heard a lady offer her a lozenge but she didn’t take it. Later, deep into March, I and my friend wondered about that cough. We wondered the obvious. Because the thing was here then, in New York, we just didn’t know it yet. I thought of two stuffy-looking old queens sitting nearby that night who looked down their noses at us in our masks, and I hope they’re okay.


Between the opera and the lockdown I went to the Morgan Library Museum, to the Frick, and out to Coney Island. I took my kitty out there on the train. I also took her to a lot of galleries in January and February, even in the beginning of March. She saw a Yayoi Kusama exhibit of mechanical sculptures and the gallery people were very happy to see her. A man in another gallery told me that lots of dogs come in who seem to enjoy looking at the art. He’d never had a cat visit, he said, but he could see that she was very interested. I started taking her when she was very young to gallery openings, where from her spot on my shoulder she watched people standing and staring at pieces of art. So she did likewise, and while I can’t know what she’s thinking about anything on the walls, anyone can see that she’s interested in what there is to look at.


My Coney Island snakie
Since March the empty building on the corner has seen a lot of action. A guy set up camp down there for a while and his friends dropped in to smoke crack. One day a very good tap dancer put down a plank of wood and did a whole show. He was a good singer, too, all numbers from the Great American Songbook.


One night I watched a police horse refuse to keep going past a big delivery truck with a box of what looked like sandwiches standing on the tail lift outside the convenience store across the street. The copper on the horse had a terrible time keeping him from stampeding, and the traffic had to creep around them. 


And last night it snowed. Outside everything looked like a glass snow globe from the gift shop at the Morgan Library. Up above the windows the pigeons were all bunched in together chuckling and I wondered if they were cold. During the daytime they fly out and wheel around the block, and that’s what interests the kitty most right now.

December 17, 2020

1 comment:

  1. Always a pleasure to read your entries. This one is especially beautiful.