Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Transit Strike Journal - 2


As promised, I'm continuing my story of day one of the strike with an account of my walk home. I got an early start, so it was still quite light when I left 52nd and 5th. By the time I crossed 14th Street at Union Square, it was twilight. Walking down Lafayette Street just above Bleecker, I noticed some delicate looking pink clouds over the buildings to the southeast.

The big glass of Stella painted on the side of the building looked inviting, but I resisted the temptation to rest my legs while perching on the nearest available barstool.

When I got to Canal Street, the sky was quite dark. Just below Canal, I faced another temptation.
Is "healthy dessert" an oxymoron? I hadn't eaten dinner yet, and could have used a sugar rush (if a healthy dessert can indeed deliver one). Nevertheless, I pressed on.

Approaching Foley Square on Centre Street, I had a good view of "Civic Fame," the gilded statue atop McKim, Mead & White's ponderous Municipal Building, described as "the finest example of Stalinist Gothic architecture in America."

She seemed an angel from another age, standing guard over a city that had undergone enormous change since she assumed her perch. Her eyes would have looked right at the World Trade Center towers as they were built over several years, stood for nearly thirty, then were brought down in one terrible hour.
Perhaps now she was looking down at the swarm of pedestrians heading onto the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, wondering what madness had possessed her polis.

Approaching the bridge, I was drawn into a surge of bodies being funneled onto the narrow walkway. Looking down, I could see a swarm of traffic clogging Water Street below.

On reaching the far side of the Bridge, I found our ebullient Borough President, Marty Markowitz, greeting returning Brooklynites.
In a fit of either historical amnesia or secessionist defiance, he was shouting, "Welcome to the City of Brooklyn!"

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