It’d just stopped raining outside, and the streets had that depressingly wet feel about them, and had there not been cigar-booths, hot dog and hamburger stands with Spanish folk trying to peddle their mystery meat, and plenty of other diners all competing for business, I’m sure it would have smelled equally depressing. I started my short walk home, swimming through the sea of New Yorkers hustling and bustling to get to their homes and move onto the next day.
‘New Yorkers’ was a strange phrase for me. There was no defining feature that you could point to and say “yes, that’s a New Yorker” –
Bratty kids tear up arcades, pockets jingling with loose change, screaming and yelling and pushing and shoving to get a peek inside the stand-up cabinets, only to find they’d ‘struck out’, the ball sliding past the bats and into the machines, and just outside these arcades there are at least two or three bums hoping to catch a few cents from them as they leave. And then opposite the street, teenagers waiting to go into whatever Bogart movie was in at the time, this time the bums being shooed away by movie-goers and employees alike. And then further down the street, Bowery and Third Avenue bars filled with suits, glasses clinked and cigars smoked, the businessmen of our day swigging away after a hard day’s work, jukeboxes roaring away with Fitzgerald, Sinatra, Armstrong, or whoever, the bartenders who’ve heard it all a thousand times before – and then just outside, in the alleyways out of plain-sight, paranoid teenagers with bottles, cowering in corners out of fear of being caught. And then the finest America has to offer, men and women in at least five or six coats and jackets, purses filled to the brim with all kinds of wealthy secrets, walking past phone booths filled with lively conversations with friends and families. And just down streets, trees peak round corners, park birds making residence for the night, shouting from tree to tree about the adventures of the dwindling day. More alleyways filled with the smell of tea, two men round a corner laughing away at jokes which trail off into the slowly-darkening skies of New York City.
This was an excerpt from a short story I started writing a while ago but just kind of left in the dust – not sure if I’ll pick it up again, but we’ll see