For lack of a better title. I don’t know what to call this dude, but I enjoyed tracking him all over Tribeca. Presumably done by Graffiti artist C?
My last weekend in New York my two ballerina girl friends and I went clubbing. Here is my stream of consciousness from this experience. I feel like many girls will be able to relate…
Is it really dark in here or is everyone black?
Well I think that one guy is Indian.
Shimmy through the crowd, try not to shove anyone or get the awkward backend of a grind.
Alright we’ve staked our dance-space claim. Three white girls in a corner. Fringe property is not ideal generally, but we’ll make it work. Besides, I appreciate the extra space to move. Also we are near the DJ which seems cool to me.
Bustin a move, bustin a move, throw my hands up, sexy hands, doing things with my hips, dancin, dancin.
Oh shit that girl just made props/respect hand signals at Heather! Girl’s got skills erybody gonna recognize.
Dancin, dancin, dancin some more.
Omg the photographer just was like “Oh no, girl” and started dancing with Heather. I am so jealous. She is literally making guys stop doing their jobs to come dance with her. Dayummmmm.
I wonder if any guys are gonna dance with me? Probably not, because I’m ugly. Also my braids are on top of my head. Guys don’t get that.
But I might as well scope out the place.
Dance and twirl, dance and twirl. Looking sexy and 360 view.
A guy just said/club-shouted at me we’re killin it. Ballerinas know what’s up.
I guy wants to dance with me! I feel validated.
But really why? I look like Heidi that just got off work and then tried to do that day-to-night transition I read so much about in magazines but got horridly confused mid transformation and went Daisy-Duke. I have braids like a swedish milkmaid and have gotten hot enough to resort to tying my button down shirt into a crop top. In no normal situation would I approve of this look.
He just asked me if I was foreign… This explains a lot.
Ok hips side to side.
Ok hips circle.
Holy shit is the DJ really wearing a floral tank top? Wtf has our society come to? It’s like the consumerism machine has tricked him into thinking he’s a hipster because he bought that stupid ironic floral shirt, but really that just makes him more a part of the machine. What a damn fool.
Ug I’m bored. I’m glad I feel validated in my man-attracting abilities, but I’m ready to be an independent woman again.
A single lady, if you will.
I just want to dance and be free. Now I’m stuck with this dude upon my back who only knows two moves. Plus it’s not like I can syncopate my dance moves or play with the musicality at all. Homie can’t follow that.
Hips side to side.
I am excellent at pretending I know all these songs. There are basically two formulas: 1)Put your hands up when the song says put your hands up. 2)Jump and act excited when everybody else jumps and acts excited.
Why is he squeezing my belly? It’s not even squeezing, it’s like a flat-handed paw. Is this respectful groping? Or is it a tummy check…?
I wonder what it’s like to be a guy. I mean we can’t see them so we make up hand signals for our girlfriends to tell us if they’re ugly or hot or if we want to be extracted. But they really can’t see us much better. I wonder if they’re hand signaling between each other too? Maybe there’s a whole hand signaling world going on in the club that we don’t know about.
Probably not, boys aren’t that smart.
Well they can see the backs of our heads, so I guess that’s something. Plus they’re the ones on the prowl, so presumably they got a good look at us before they made their move.
Hey! I actually know this song! I am revived from my philosophical reverie of paired-dancing boredom!
Wait. I don’t want my renewed enthusiasm for dancing to be misinterpreted as enthusiasm for this dude or extra sluttiness. Ack, quandary!
I just want to be free! How do I escape the confines of this monotonous dance prison without insulting the dude? For some reason politeness matters to me. Even though I have never met this guy and he is rubbing all over me. This is kind of an ironic social situation.
Ok I could jump from him to go dance with my girl friend. Then it’s like, “Hey I just wanna dance with my friend now,” not, “I am rejecting you.” The problem is I don’t particularly like grinding up on girls. It’s not that I have anything against lesbians, but I do not happen to be one, so I do not enjoy this activity. Well I will dance slightly closer to her and maybe he will get the idea.
She says he’s hot. What ho? I really cannot see this dude. But for some reason I now have slightly more tolerance for dancing with him. I am aware this says something fucked up about me.
He club-shouted his name to me. Obviously I have no idea what he said.
I club-shouted my name back. Are we supposed to have a conversation now? This is ridiculous.
Aha Heather wants to get air. Opportunity for escape!
Shimmy back through the crowd. Hold hands or else we might lose someone to the void.
Freedom and fresh, cool night air! Despite all my griping about the lack of artistic dance-freedom, that was really quite fun:)
The front side of 5 Pointz is obvious, and yet people still walk by without bothering to look. I guess if you don’t come to Queens especially to see this, it might not be on your mind to put off your day’s tasks to appreciate art, even on this mammoth scale. But when they notice me stopped on the sidewalk, it suddenly occurs to them to stop as well. They crane their necks upwards, step in a little closer. And then are on their way.
Along the side of 5 Pointz a guard patrols. Signs say No Trespassing, No Climbing On the Roof. My eyes claw over these as they search the best way to scale the wall. The roof is clearly a treasure trove of works, but for now unattainable. I imagine further inquiry could get me a tour, but not today.
This side street is lazy with traffic. I step farther away to see more, back up all the way into the parking lot of the city buses. So this is where they go to sleep. Art winds up the fire escapes, creeps into the cracks of the windows, seeps behind screens. Color spatters the sidewalk. Painted faces look up my skirt. Poles, tree trunks, bear the stripes of the test-spray, the artist’s warm up, 1-2, 1-2.
At the very back a parking lot borders on unused subway tracks. Chain-link fence is cut, and pulled back, and colored like everything else. Dead trains on the dead tracks sit and watch.
Through the parking lot to the back corner, the second side-street framing 5 Pointz begins. This is my favorite part, because it is the place least like a museum, and therefore most pleasing for me to see art in.
It smells like a pond. Muddy, stagnant water pools there, putrid. The fetid smell lies low on the ground. My shoes squelch in the mud. Overhead the subway roars, rattles, screeches, squeaks. Creaking like a wooden roller coaster. White vans pull up and unload. Men sit on stoops and stare unabashedly, but no one really bothers me. Police cars drive in and out of view on the main street ahead. The wind blows and the stench of garbage, then falafel wafts through. In openings in the wall, too door-less to be called doorways, I see Hillal Carts. This is where they must come from. Middle-Eastern men hustle around them, cooking and prepping for the day. Trucks idle outside.
A deep rumble. Water drips on me from high above. There’s a roar, groan, shriek, sound of a knife being sharpened as the subway tracks overhead. Shadows move on the walls.
Every surface- wall, sidewalk, fence, pole, sign, is scrawled upon. Every garbage can has a face or something to say.
I think it’s quite ideal.
In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.
It was much pleasanter at home,” thought poor Alice, “when one wasn’t always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn’t gone down the rabbit-hole–and yet–and yet–…
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Spring yields, Paris’s time is up. It’s summer in New York City.
When you arrive in New York you always realize you haven’t brought enough clothes. Moreover, the sneakers you dutifully packed to assuage that nagging common sense of yours are suddenly turned upon with a scornful eye. Walking all day in heels not only seems perfectly practical, you realize now it’s the only proper footwear to be considered. If things get desperate you’ll abdicate your platforms for flats, but by God you’ll not be seen in tennis shoes.
On the street everybody is eyeing everybody else, sizing up their outfits, their attractiveness, their craziness. But there’s a security in knowing that as often as their eyes fall upon you, it only lasts a blink, and then they’re out of your world again. In the short-term memory of this constant promenade you can be anyone you like, confident that whatever judgement you face will only last as long as it takes you to pass your appraiser by.
In the morning, the sidewalks are lined with donut wagons, coffee stops. In the afternoon- Halal carts, cupcake trolleys, smoothie shacks, roasted-nut rickshaws, frozen yogurt trucks. Dark skinned women are selling sliced mangos in a plastic bag with hot sauce, a snack you’ve never heard of, and can’t muster an inclination to try. On the subject of fruit, why is fruit on the street so insanely cheap compared to in the grocery stores? On the subject of grocery store prices, let’s not go there- it’s too painful a subject, we try to suppress the thought.
Walking down the street, men will purr at you, honk from their trucks, wink from the passenger’s seat. On the outside you cock a disdainful eyebrow, but as you walk away there’s a renewed swish in your hips betraying your internal, “Yeah, still got it.”
In lower TriBeCa “The Shirts” purposefully walk the streets on their way out to coffee or back to an important meeting. Black dress pants, light blue button-down shirt is the dress code of professionalism. Standing in front of Citigroup feels like standing in a strange aviary- the shirts flit in and out all around you, flapping and fluttering in the wind.
Any tall, beautiful woman you see on the street you mentally label Model, and you’re probably right. Strange fashions start to grow on you. All these women wearing potato-sack full-length rompers… perhaps you should try it. As long as you’ve got on your wedges.
Museum exhibitions come and go. You wait in line to see upside-down waterfalls, indoor rain, nude people, cartoons. Free exhibitions lure you off the street to discover some the newest art concept of some draped fabric or a box comprising a plastic spoon, a leaf, and whatever the rest of that shit was.
Trips to Brooklyn are remembered by the sight of greenery and the taste of some sought out specialty food- pork belly, famous thin-crust pizza, chocolate-dipped key-lime pie on a stick. Trips to Queens are concrete, bricks, boards, and broken glass. Coney Island is a crowd and a racket; a spin around and hurtle down.
The subway roars in the shadows. It’s always so much more humid and hotter down below. In the tunnels of its lair, the beast rushes, rockets, devours its way towards you. The wind preceding its approach is like a foul breath on your face, and yet nonetheless you’re slightly grateful for the breeze.
Between your breasts your bra rests always slightly damp. Stand too long catching up with a friend on the street and the sun starts to juice you like a lemon, drops of sweat beading your hairline and rolling down your back. Your hair always looked better in the morning.
In parks all over the city, thousands sit to eat, to rest their legs, to cool in the shade. A musician coaxes soulful notes from his instrument, soon joined the banging of a drum, or a bucket. A dancer follows, tapping, twirling, spinning. On paths the runners and bikers form an endless stream, an endless exercise.
The moon rises, the city glows and throbs with life. No one has to tell you the city doesn’t sleep. Spend that time directing me to this large apple I’ve heard so much about.
You go. Eyes slide past the homeless, the begging, the soliciting. Do you ever want a Metro News? Hands on the metal pole, weight shifting, lurching over the tracks. Feet slapping the pavement. Shoes heating up. Looking at signs, your phone, faces, graffiti, clothes, stickers on the mail-box. Your dress swishes around your legs, the weight of your purse bumps reassuringly against your waist, pulls achingly down on your shoulder.
It’s a time and a place. It’s like your memory of Christmas- the years change but the setting is the same, the feeling is the same. All your memories fall in the same genre, set to a backdrop of sticky air, hot sun, damp sweat, rumbling trains, bustling crowds, tired feet, excitement. It comes every year, you flock every year. The city is full of sun and life, and you are full of the city.