Wednesday, May 12, 2010

among people

The trial proceeds. One side has the legal arguments, the other side feels aggrieved by the legal reality. The testimony is interrupted by attempts to settle, but settlement seems impossible when one side has gone to a lot of trouble and expense to spread their own pain.

It is a difficult case to track.

But there are lighter moments. For instance, the walk to the courthouse. Sullivan, Thompson—these are the mellow streets of the Village, where life unfolds in small ways, but such New Yorkish ways!


I keep focusing on the people. And there are a lot of people. Indeed, visual clutter -- people, cars, signs, all of it -- makes photo grabbing (on the run, always on the run) a challenge. It can get very crowded very quickly, so that isolating anything for a shot -- the Chrysler Building, a woman with an interesting hairstyle, a kid eating a Mr. Softee – is not easy. But sometimes the story of New York is in the crazy rush to get to the corner before the light changes.


At other times, it is the quiet moment, by a city "playground," with one dog owner admiring the dogs of another.


Two blocks from Bleecker, I find the café (Once Upon  Tart) with the excellent baked goods and so I pause there for a morning espresso. There are a few conversations – a woman has just found out she is pregnant and she tells her friend how she has grown more comfortable with that reality. Mostly though, people are reading. Things on paper, not on a computer screen. Perhaps New Yorkers will never understand why newsprint is so close to being obsolete. In a café, on the subway, a newspaper still makes sense.


In the evening we eat at the Havana Alma de Cuba. At the table by the window, a man is rolling cigars. The waiters look Cuban and speak Spanish. It’s a warm, friendly place. Very different from the hostility and arrogance at the court house.


We fall asleep early, but not for long. By 2, we’re discussing the case again. Did the attorneys lose sight of the forest in the rush to get the detail correctly stated? I think of the buildings with the fire escapes. A New Yorker considering this for a home may notice the trim around the windows. An outsider would inevitably say -- hey, it's a building with a fire escape, for God's sake!


At dawn the pigeons are at it again. Forget people. The city belongs to the pigeons.