I get hints of something whenever I am in the outskirts of Times Square, specifically that stretch of 8th Avenue in the 40's. I get wide eyed and see New York as this overwhelming, rowdy place when I am there. I feel like a kid, I feel like I just moved to New York when I am there, that it seems so big and amazing there. I get hints of the seediness that that entire area used to be under, that I have read so much about. I walk through those memories of other people, of Delaney, of Wojnarowicz, and countless others when I am walking there, of even a Gore Vidal novel and old movies with sailors on leave.
There are bright porns stores, bright tourist stores selling postcards and t-shirts, bright pizza places, and then dark hole in the wall bars. There is an aggressive energy on this street that I feel really comfortable in. The people are not ugly, but not hip and not pretty. There is something decidedly unhip about this section of town and I fucking love that, that it feels more real somehow, this crowd, they are not too cool for this place, in obvious contrast to other neighborhoods where I do walking, in SoHo, in Williamsburg, in Chelsea, even in the business district of midtown. It's grimey and there are people, lots of people gathered on the sidewalk, some of them seemingly looking for trouble, drunk on the night and other more obvious things. And then in the mix of that, you've got theater goers, old couples and out of town families making their way through this motley mix.
I was listening to the Rolling Stones both on my way to the theater and my way back from it and this surely had a lot to with my impressions of this scene. It was the perfect music for this moment and made me feel deliriously good. There's a line from a song, not by the Stones about feeling good because you've got on tight jeans and good music, and really, that was sort of the feeling. Surely, had I been listening to J-pop or something, I would have had a totally different reading of this scene, and the Stones allowed me to feel the scene, the part I wanted to play better as I walked through these memories that were and were not my own.
The play that I saw that was the reason for this walk through this part of town was really good. We were up in the nosebleeds and I found myself getting annoyed through the early part of the show about all the noise that seemed to be going on around me. Someone turning off their cellphone once the show had already started, people coming and going out of this really loud door right behind me. Two people taking their seats halfway through the show. Aside from these distractions, once I got into the show, I found it really enjoyable. A few of the jokes seemed too forced, a little lame, but I tend to think that about most comedic things, but there were some excellent moments to the show that made me laugh, that made me really happy.
It is raining right now. Again I am listening to the Stones. To different effect this time, the 8th of April, a Saturday afternoon, my apartment, Brooklyn, New York in this, the year 2006.