When, in the late 1880s, a plea scrawled on a note was plucked from a bobbing bottle in Wallabout Bay, the good men of the police force shook their heads. It was not the content that was mystifying: our dear specter Annie Walker wrote desperately that she had been taken and brought against her will onto a ship where she was treated, as a modest woman might say, “unkindly,” and that she needed so badly to be saved and brought home. This was an unfortunate symptom of the time, when the wild coast was seething with fear and anger, unmarked ships abounded on their journeys, and where one might alight with a horse-headed serpent in the seas whose waves we have now all but choreographed.
Posts Tagged ‘Story’
The stocky, mustached man stepped out from behind his counter to greet me as I entered, revealing a pair of lustrous bicycle shorts in the colors of the Ecuadorian flag. I dragged in a beaten blue bicycle, its wheels wrapped in a chain that kept it from rolling. I had carried it up on the R Train from City Hall, where I had extracted it from a nearby dumpster on Chambers Street.
I joked about it. I called it Queens Times Square. Every time I told a new friend where I was living there was a predictable moment of hesitation and a laugh. I had found myself a nice little apartment right near 42nd and Broadway, thankfully free of the harsh light and the awful crowd of its eponymous twin.
I pored over the maps, with their codes and symbols as prominent as the streets and buildings. Every inch was measured, it seemed, and everything rippled with information referenced and cross-referenced elsewhere. It was August of 2005, and I lived in New York City. For three months from having arrived out of school, this was my life: study the maps, learn the code, stay inside.