Saturday, October 07, 2006


stolen wondership's rite

To have suddenly seen the surprising procession arcing across the eastern half of Columbus Circle, my happy traipsing about must have deposited me very near the Circle on 59th Street (officially Central Park South, at this stretch). This was during one of those glowing 2 & 1/2 or 3 week vacations I was sometimes able to take from the civil service job I held for many years till recently. The people I saw were definitely a marching unit, and from my first view onward projected ceremoniousness. Were they wearing uniforms; were they beating drums? Unhappily, or maybe happily, I didn't take notes as it happened or shortly after. Eventually I was astonished to see people toward the rear of the march carrying intricate, extremely capacious silver containers--maybe it was only the handles of these prodigious objects that were very complex, but I think perhaps some of the huge silver bodies-proper were twisty also.

What was this, some Dream? Some Trip? Some Film that was surreal, or symbolic, or documented some little-known custom? I finally noticed that those at the rear emerged onto the street from a western outlet of Central Park. I travelled toward the front of the procession to learn there that those folks were moving west on 58th street, then turning south again on 8th Avenue, where they immediately came to rest at a site near that corner. When all 30 or so celebrants were gathered there, from my distance I couldn't see them doing anything more than standing there. It was only 3 or 4 minutes before they dispersed.

When I walked over to the building in front of which they had stood, I saw signage that indicated that this was a restaurant that had recently closed. I knew then that it was a funerary ritual that my eyes had lucked upon. A couple of weeks later I noted that a chain drug store was the site's new occupant, which wasn't surprising since drug branches and banks as well as upscale botiques are well-poised to pay the most extravagant rents to be desired. I've made some inquiry, but haven't found out, though I am hardly inclined to think of this as someone's wholly new brainstorm, from what traditions this lovely rite was created.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


earth/city reborn in anger

Jonathan Mayhew once stated on Bemsha Swing that he hadn't blogged for a few days because "nothing had made him angry enough". I was taken aback by that formulation, wondering why electronic journal-keeping had to be so much the agent of fury. I wondered for what percentage of bloggers this was indeed the case. I also realized of course that Jonathan was making a humorous remark that was not intended to be the whole of the truth.

But now I find myself shaken out of my blogging torpor of months by virtue of wanting to SCREAM in regard to today's news concerning the imminent closing of Manhattan's Coliseum Bookstore at the 42nd Street location, across from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library system's Main Research Library, at which it had been resurrected since June 2003 (this Independent Bookstore had been inactive for 18 months after its existence from 1974-2002 at 57th and Broadway near Columbus Circle).

I learned of this on Silliman's blog today, where there are links to articles from The New York Times and The New York Sun. As I stated in Silliman's comment box I want to make a public vow not to buy any book or CD or whatever from Barnes and Nobles for one full year. Presumably I will renew this vow the year after that, and the year after that.

I shouldn't even walk into those damn places, with their cooled-out dopey depressive corporate ambience, even though it's sometimes convenient to look up facts in the books on their shelves, and always amusing to discover the rather frequent category mistakes in the books' shelving. Did I say depressing: the worst thing is to see the people slumped in undignified positions, sitting down on the floor with their backs against the wall, sitting down with their backs tilting away from the wall and their legs stretched out, or slumped in various other ways, because they want to use one or more of b&n's books for a long time, they don't want to or cannot stand for that length of time, and the few chairs that have been provided by store management are occupied. Oy, what poor, sad refugees these slumped persons seem!

What I didn't even notice when I made my comment on Silliman's this morning was that the linked-to New York Times article says that the venerable Gotham Book Mart "for financial reasons faces eviction from its space at 16 East 46th Street". Them too, so soon after their move from their long-time location in the midst of the 47th Street diamond district?

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?