Introduction

In the forward to his collection of essays, The Second Tree from the Corner, E.B. White says that his book is a “sentimental journey to the scenes of my crime.” That's what this is. In fact, I almost named this collection, “The Scenes of My Crime.” I documented various things I had experienced or seen over the last two years, but focused on showcasing things as I experienced them; nothing is meant to be taken any deeper than what is there. Of course there were deeper things going on in my life at the time—like anyone else—but those don't factor into these stories. What follows is the best of the bricolage, dressed up and presented without any consideration to the order of it.

The image interludes were taken on either a Sony RX-100 or my Apple iPhone 6—both cameras that allow for an in-the-moment, point-and-shoot style of photography. For a better look, click on each to enlarge them.

Anyway, that's enough of this.

 
 

The Ride of My Life

The code for any reasonable New Yorker riding the subway is to stare ahead and keep to yourself. It is your time to gear up or down from the workday, listen to some tunes, or to daydream. More than once (I've been told) I've stared at someone I know and didn't realize it was them. A lot of life is condensed into static noise every day underground. There are times, though, when that static becomes clear and you are face-to-face with a harsh reality that you can't escape. And, as I found out, those realities can be doozies.

On a Sunday morning, I boarded the express 2 train from Seventy-second Street, en route to work. The trains aren't normally crowded on a Sunday, and on this particular morning there were only about fifteen people in the car. Plenty of seats were open, but since I was only going one stop, I decided to stand. Everybody was seated except for the man across from me. He was jittery and had tattoos on his face, neck, and knuckles—the only visible areas of his skin.

As the doors closed and the train started moving, the man moved to the center of the car. "Alright everybody, listen up," he announced. "Some motherfucker on this train is about to get their ass beat by me before these doors open again." Again, this was a Sunday morning.

I leaned back on the closed doors and looked around. Everyone on the train had the same look of absolute fear on their faces. The psycho paced the train, walking back and forth, looking at each person. 

"Who's it gonna be?" he asked.

The train crawled passed the Sixty-sixth Street station. 

Good God, I thought, there are two more stations to go before these doors open again. 

He walked over to a woman sitting toward the middle of the train and put his hand under her chin. He looked at her, snickered to himself, and moved on. I made eye contact with a man sitting a few paces down. He was about the same age and build as me. We made an agreement with our eyes that if something were to go down, we would be in it together.

The Fiftieth Street station was visible outside the train as the man walked towards me and leaned on the doors opposite.

One more stop to go. 

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon. I was suddenly very aware of my heartbeat, which seemed to have migrated up to my ear drums. He started to clench and unclench his fists. If I hadn't used the bathroom before leaving my apartment, I am certain I would have stained pants by now. I looked over to my new wingman, who was now looking away. Thanks. 

I have never been in a one-on-one fight—a few melees in my late-teens where I had to keep my head on a swivel, but not a fight where I had to hold my own. I replayed in my head all the movie fight scenes I could remember. Presuming he was right-handed, I could anticipate the first punch and grab his arm with one hand as I landed a knock-out blow with the other, like Brad Pitt in Snatch.

Or, like Robert DeNiro in Mean Streets, I could bury my head in his chest and drive him to and fro, only taking short, ineffective punches to my back until the doors opened.

"You are all lucky I'm in a generous mood," he said, looking straight at me. The train had just pulled into the Times Square station.

The doors opened and I took a few steps backwards onto the platform, still looking at him. Everybody got off the train, except him, as a new set of passengers got on. I stood on the platform as the doors closed, crippled in my attempt to warn the people of what they were about to get into, like an onlooker the moment before an impending car crash. The train started to move when I could see the man start to address his new set of passengers. 

I hoped he was still feeling generous.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Savannah's Most Haunted House

Throw a rock in the air in Historic Downtown Savannah and you’ll hit the city's Most Haunted House. This is to say nothing of your aim, but that depending on the homeowner you ask, their house lays claim to the title. There doesn't seem to be a governing body that determines these things, so you'll just have to use your judgment in deciding which house gives you the heebie-jeebies the most.

I mention this because on our first night in Savannah, my wife bought two tickets to one of the many ghost tours you can choose from. Ours happened to meet at Chippewa Square—home of the bench Forrest Gump sits on in the movie of the same name (the bench was brought in for filming)—at a quarter to ten o'clock. It is legal to drink in public in Savannah, which I did just prior to the tour. As a result, I was preoccupied with finding a bathroom most of the time.

Our tour guide was a nice, young college student from the Savannah College of Art and Design who told me that she had just moved to the city. She carried an iPad and gently herded us from location to location over our two-hour tour. 

In front of the Sorrel-Weed House, on 6 West Harris Street, she told us this was Savannah's Most Haunted House. The story goes like this: the builder of the house, Francis Sorrel, had an affair with a slave named Molly. Sorrel's wife, Matilda, found out about the affair and committed suicide by jumping off the second story balcony, bashing her head against the ground. Matilda has spent her afterlife harassing people who enter the house. Molly hung herself in the carriage house next door—she goes back to the main house to haunt people as well. There was no mention of a usable bathroom.

A few blocks away, next to the Mercer House, on West Gordon Street, a boy fell from the roof and impaled himself onto the wrought iron fence below, killing him. Inside, Jim Williams murdered his assistant, Danny Hansford, as depicted in the movie Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil starring Kevin Spacey. The house, which is Savannah's Most Haunted, is currently occupied by Williams's sister, Dorothy Kingery, and open to the public for tours—and bathroom use, I presume—but only during daylight hours. 

A little over an hour into the tour, standing at 432 Abercorn Street, on Calhoun Square, was Savannah's Most Haunted House. Our guide informed us that inside the house a father murdered his daughter—I think; I was barely listening at this point. One of the previous tour-goers snapped a photo of a form eerily like a person in the window. She passed around the iPad so we could take a closer look. Upon further inspection, all I could see was a bad Photoshop job.  The house has been vacant for years, though, so it definitely had a creepy quality to it. The tour-goers had many questions about the house, most our guide wasn't able to answer. I kept any inquiries of its bathroom to myself.

A few minutes later we are walking—and, geez, not one single open place to pee along the way?—to our final house which I can't remember because I had reached the critical point where I had to decide whether to continue holding it in, or just go right there and claim I saw a ghost. Our guide said something about this being Savannah's Most Haunted House, showed us the iPad which had a thermal image of who-knows-what a previous tour-goer sent in, then thanked us for our time and gave us directions back to Chippewa Square. My wife and I briskly walked away in the direction of a bar I thought I saw in the distance along the way.

While I was standing at the urinal, the wheels in my head started to move. What if I bought a house in Savannah and claimed it was Savannah's Most Haunted House? All I would need is an existing structure that has been around for a hundred or so years, above average Photoshop skills, and a good story involving some of the previous tenants (adherence to historical fact doesn't seem to be necessary). 

I mulled over a few scenarios and settled upon a winner: a previous owner had arrived at his house after a long walk around town looking for a place to relieve himself. Running full speed towards the bathroom in the dark, he was tripped by the ghost of another previous owner, and fell down a flight of stairs to his death. I mocked up a few photos I could use to sell the story to the inevitable masses of people who visit.

Now I just need to scare up a few million bucks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Projectionist's Cut

Several years ago I attended a bachelor party for a good friend in New Orleans, Louisiana. I knew a few of the attendees, though I was meeting most of them for the first time. The weekend went off without a hitch and we’ve kept in touch ever since. As I type this, the text message chain with all of us on it is rattling the phone around in my pocket with a flurry of texts, each of which would likely ruin any participant's political aspirations. 

In an attempt to relive the shenanigans, a bunch of us rented a house in Hilton Head, South Carolina. On the first night, as one person after another faded off to bed, it was left for my friend, Brett, and me to put a dent in the case of beer. Brett was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, though apart from our accents, we are much alike. After moving between various topics of conversation, we started to talk about movies. Brett informed me that from 1995 to 1996 he worked as a projectionist at the now defunct Essen Mall Cinema 6, in Baton Rouge. "I loved putting movies together," he told me. "By far the most fun I have ever had at a job."

The theater, which was owned by the movie studio United Artists, was a poorly attended discount theater focusing mainly on independent, foreign, and art house films. "I love movies. But, independent movies weren't my thing," he continued. "Sometimes we would get popular movies that had been running in other theaters for a while but weren't well attended here." For those movies—"the classics like Pulp FictionEraser, and Phenomenon"—he would invite his friends by for late night screenings where they would drink beer and smoke (both cigarettes and weed) in the theater. It also allowed him to be able to make sure the reels were being run properly for future showings to the general public. 

After the announcement of the nominees for the 68th Academy Awards on February 13, 1996, the theater started to run Il Postino: The Postman, an Italian-language production that was nominated for five awards, including "Best Picture." The movie, directed by Michael Radford and starring Massimo Troisi and Philippe Noiret, was released by Miramax in 1995. It tells the story of exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (Noiret) and his admiring postman, Mario (Troisi). The two forge a friendship as Mario tries to learn how to impress women through poetry. In his review of the film, Roger Ebert describes it as "a quiet meditation on fate, tact, and poetry."

It was not a film that any of Brett’s friends lined up to see. "No one wanted to come pound beers and smoke in the theater to watch Il Postino, unfortunately," he said. "I have to admit, art house foreign films were not part of my repertoire, so I just ran it to make sure it ran smoothly and didn't wrap itself. Technically, someone (working in the theater) was supposed to watch it before it ran, but we only ran it to make sure it didn't malfunction. No one actually watched it."

The film screened without incident for the first full week, a time there is usually heavier attendance. Brett would hang out in the lobby with some of the other employees and wait until the crowd filed out from each showing and ask them how they liked the film. He genuinely was interested to know. "Most people would say it was good, or so-so, and keep walking," he said.

One man, however, surprised him with his candid opinion. "He stopped with this confused look on his face," Brett said. "He told me about the film and mentions there is a point in the story where a couple meet, are married, and then start dating. I thought that sounded pretty strange."

Brett decided to check things out. Since this was not the first run of the film, which had been released a year before, the reels had been through hell. It arrived to the theatre in six separate reels, which were labeled sequentially. At some point, however, reels four and five had been mislabeled. "I had shown it out of order for an entire week before anyone said anything," he said, laughing.

If you happened to have seen Il Postino: The Postman in the winter of 1996 at the Essen Mall Cinema 6 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you might want to give it another viewing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Dead Letter Office

The United States Postal Service never delivered my Father's Day card this year. I held up my end of the arrangement by placing two forty-nine cent stamps on the envelope, just in case the card was too heavy. On the front, the card featured an illustration of a young boy running to the right yelling, "Papa!" The same illustration appeared again and again on several interior flaps. The final flap, at the end of the card, shows the young boy telling his father something in another language. My personal note said, "All that work and now you have to translate it!"

A lost piece of mail "isn’t too different from losing your hat," according to the United States Post Office Inspector General, who probably never had a Father's Day card of his own lost in the mail. "In both cases, you’ll want to check the lost and found bin."

The Lost and Found Department, or The Dead Letter Office, or, officially, the Mail Recovery Center (MRC) of the USPS is there to help. Maybe. I reviewed the Mail Recovery Center Guidelines, and they are unhelpful and obtuse—just as you would expect a governmental document to be. The website states that items sent to the MRC include loose-in-mail items valued $25 or more, eyeglasses, cell phones, guns(!) "as per the Postal Operations Manual (POM) 691.57," clothing (high-valued used and all new clothing), and letters in letter trays."

Among the list of items outside of the MRC’s jurisdiction are "any undeliverable or unendorsed Standard Mail® letters and flats." The information wasn't very helpful so I continued my search.

The Postal Explorer webpage of the USPS ("a virtual library of postal information and tools designed for U.S. Postal Service customers") states that "mail can be undeliverable for these reasons (emphasis mine):”

  • No postage.
    See: The aforementioned two stamps.
  • Incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address.
    My handwriting is legible and the addresses were correct.
  • Addressee not at address (unknown, moved, or deceased).
    Unless he moved without telling me, my father still lives there.
  • Mail unclaimed.
    That's the problem.
  • Mail refused by the addressee at time of delivery.
    That would be pretty messed up of my father to do.
  • Mail refused by the addressee after delivery when permitted.
    That would be even more messed up.
  • Minimum criteria for mailability not met.
    I have no idea what this means.

I needed a more personal explanation, so I went to the local branch of the post office during my lunch hour. The man behind window twelve at the Cooper Station Post Office in New York City was warm and helpful. "Was there anything of worth in there?" he asked me.

"Apart from the priceless sentiment of a son wishing his father a Happy Father's Day," I replied, trying not to laugh at my own joke. "Only the worth of the card and the two stamps."

After we acknowledged that it was addressed correctly and properly stamped, he told me the most likely scenario was that the letter was shredded in processing.  If any remnants of the addresses survived intact, they would be delivered to one of the two addresses on the card in a plastic bag. I shouldn't bet on that, though. He then apologized on behalf of the Postal Service for the situation.

In any event, happy belated Father's Day, Dad!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Columbidae on Columbus

As a general rule in my life, I do not intend to harm anyone or anything. I am sure there are some ex-girlfriends that would object, but overall, I think I am successful in adhering to this rule. Recently, however, I put a pigeon in a harrowing situation, and I am still uncertain of the outcome. 

My wife and I were having a nice dinner at Cafe Tallulah, on the northwest corner of Seventy-first Street and Columbus Avenue. We had a prime table in the corner of the restaurant by the windows where we could watch people come and go, just as if we were in Paris. Over the course of dinner, I happened to notice a pigeon sitting in the street close to the sidewalk. Every so often I would glance over to notice that it hadn't moved. It would just sit there, looking around. A car zoomed by very close to the pigeon. My wife noticed the concern on my face.

"There's this pigeon sitting on the side of the road," I said. "It hasn't moved in like twenty minutes."

"Maybe it's hurt."

"It's gotta be. I mean it—oh, shit! A car just drove right over it!"

The pigeon didn't get hit by the car, but I could now see it was in very real danger. A table of tourists, sitting a few tables down from us, right in front of the pigeon, looked on, mildly amused at the drama unfolding.

I walked through the open floor-to-ceiling window onto the sidewalk and gently stepped toward the pigeon, trying not to startle it. It didn't seem to be concerned by my presence, so I lightly tapped it with my foot. It stood up and started to walk away, giving me a look of disgust as it did so. But, it made it onto the sidewalk just as it got to the corner near the crosswalk. I walked back to the table and sat down filled with the feeling one gets at a good deed done. I humbly accepted all of the felicitations from my wife. We concluded that it must have lost its ability to fly. 

I started back to my dinner only to notice the pigeon step off the sidewalk and start strutting toward the other side of the street. C'mon. The light turned green and my heart sunk. I heard the rush of the oncoming traffic. The pigeon showed no sign of either speeding up or slowing down. 

As the pigeon reached the middle of the street, a car zipped over it. The pigeon raised its wing and kept walking. Another car zoomed over it, clipping its wing. It kept going forward with its wing in the air, moving like a quill pen signing a signature as the cars whizzed by. 

I put my head in my hands and looked on in horror. The table of tourists took it all in as if it were a Broadway musical. Seeing my face and hearing the car horns, my wife turned around just as the third act started. The pigeon approached the bike path on the other side of the busy street. It was the final obstacle of its self-imposed exile from its post outside the café. A biker darted by the bird, as if nothing was in his way.

In ten seconds, it was all over. The pigeon was safely across the street. A few cars stopped at the light, blocking my view, so I stood up again and walked to the sidewalk to make sure the little guy was okay. It took stock of itself for a few seconds, then sauntered over to the northeast corner of Columbus Avenue and sat down, away from the commotion of the avenue. 

I returned to my meal, relieved that my actions didn't get a pigeon killed. As we left the restaurant to head home, I noticed that the bird was still where I saw it last, taking in the sights.

The next day, as I was walking home from work, I decided to walk to the corner where I last saw the pigeon, somewhat hoping—albeit fruitlessly—that it would still be there. It wasn't. But, as I walked down the street, every pigeon I came across quickly hurried in the other direction from me.

The word was out.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Statement Watch

My mailbox this evening contained "The Culture Issue" of Departures, a magazine to which I'm not entirely sure why I am subscribed. But, I am subscribed nonetheless and, always trying to climb a rung up society's ladder, I thumbed through it.

The editor of the magazine, Richard David, has a column entitled "Living the Right Life" in which he writes about staying four nights at the Mandarin Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, despite the safety concerns of his "well-read and well-informed" brother in Oklahoma. Yuck.

The "Blackbook" section, on page seventy-two, has an article "All Dogs on Deck" where author Jane Stern tells the story of her dog, Ivy, and their cross-Atlantic voyage together on the Queen Mary 2, a "luxe, canine-friendly cruise." An iceberg reference is made concerning an averted "social disaster" on board. 

There is a piece in the "Style Etc." section on "The Statement Watch," which did catch my interest. "Women's evening timepieces are replacing the cocktail ring," the subhead reads. "Here, five diamond-faced conversation starters." It lists five luxurious watches, but it is silent on the details of the conversation they would start. I’ve taken it upon myself to assume that based on their description of each timepiece.

1. Piaget The double-sided Limelight Twice is set with 332 brilliant-cut diamonds for a total of 5.5 carats, $75,500.

Whether you are at a cocktail party or sitting courtside at the Miami Heat playoff game, this watch begs the question sure to start any conversation, "Where is God when it hurts?"

2. Cartier The Hypnose is crown-free to preserve the aesthetics of the case, which is set with 112 brilliant-cut diamonds. The dial is set with another 252 brilliant-cut diamonds, for a total of 153 carats, $47,900.

You forgot to wear all-white to the arena for tonight's Miami Heat playoff game, but that is okay. With this on your wrist, you can rest easy knowing the person next to you is just begging to ask, "Can you really experience anything objectively?"

3. Vacheron Constantin The Malte Mechanical is set with 260 diamond baguettes, 11 carats in total, that graduate in size within the dial, $375,000.

Your assistant messed up, again, and you are in the third row for tonight's Miami Heat playoff game, behind that bitch wearing the Piaget. No matter, your watch has diamonds—lots of them—that resemble loaves of French bread and people will be lining up to ask you, "Does God exist?"

4. Harry Winston The Premier Hypnotic Star is both channel and invisibly set with 277 diamonds, 15.37 carats total, and 108 black-spinel baguettes, approximately 1.11 carats, price upon request.

Again with the baguettes, huh? Well, never mind that, Pitbull is in your suite at the Miami Heat playoff game and after one look at your watch he wants to have a moment to ask, "When does consciousness begin?"

5. Richard Mille The RM51-02 Tourbillon Diamond Twister, with 7.55 carats of diamonds emanating from the tourbillon, has an onyx baseplate, sapphire case black, and white-gold case, $860,000.

The game is tied early in the fourth quarter in Game Seven of the Miami Heat playoff game. On your way towards the exit, one glance at this watch and passersby will ask, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Adrift and At Peace

Over the course of working ten years in Manhattan, I have spent countless lunch hours walking the streets near my office.

I should say offices—plural—as there have been five total in four different parts of the island. At each location, I spent the first few days finding the right groove for my daily walks. Once I found it, I would not alter the route for the rest of my days there. Each walk created a layer of memory that encapsulated that period in my mind.

Among all the offices, the one in Greenwhich Village provided both the most historic and scenic route.

At one o'clock every day, I left my office on the corner of West Houston Street and walked north on Hudson Street. To my right was James J. Walker Park, where a ballgame was always underway no matter the day. I frequently stood looking through the green chain-link fence that separated the park from the sidewalk. I would hang on it just to catch a glimpse of the action. To my dismay, nothing usually happened—not a goal in the soccer games; nor any kind of contact in softball. The players seemed to enjoy being on a ball field, playing a game while the rest of us worked.

Across the street stands a restaurant called The Clam. It has sidewalk tables, and one oppressively hot afternoon I watched people walked past unaware that The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, was sitting at one of them. He was resplendent in a jean suit with a red handkerchief tied around his neck, reminding us that as long as he is around we are always on the clock. I gave him a nod to pay my respects.

On the corner of Hudson Street and St. Luke’s Place— a peculiarity I will get to later— is where the story of an interesting block begins. As I walked east, to my left is a row of thirteen beautiful Italianate townhouses. The first one of note, No. 5 St. Luke's Place, was the former home of painter Paul Cadmus, who lived there while he painted the controversial "The Fleet's In!," in 1934. At its entrance, the house has a beautiful staircase that was covered in ivy, which was where I always saw the same Federal Express delivery man, with his wonderful shock of grey hair, reading a book on his lunch hour every day.

An oddity about this street is that the row houses are numbered sequentially—one through seventeen—as you go west to east. The next house, No. 6 St. Luke's Place, which apart from being marked with a number on its door, is identifiable by the two lampposts on both ends of its steps. This was the home of the former mayor of New York City, James J. Walker, whose name the park across the street bears. James Walker, or Jimmy Walker, or Beau James, was a drunk and lover of chorus girls that, to misappropriate a line from the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay—a neighbor a few streets over, on Bedford Street—certainly burned the candle at both ends. Walker, described as the "Prince Charming of Politics" by Robert Caro in The Power Broker, once came home so drunk at three in the morning that the cop stationed outside his house refused to let him in, not believing that the man in front of him was actually the mayor and the owner of the home he was protecting. Before being elected mayor, as a New York Senator, Walker sponsored the "Walker Law" that legalized boxing in the state. While he was mayor, from 1926-1932, Walker let his opposition to Prohibition be known; speakeasies thrived under his administration. The stock market crash of 1929, and pressure from then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, led him to resign.

A familiar sight is No. 10 St. Luke's Place, which was used as the exterior for the home of the Huxtables on The Cosby Show. A few years ago, this location would have been teeming with tourists, brought in by the busload, to have their picture taken on the stoop. After Bill Cosby's rape allegations, however, only a handful of people visit the site. 

Further along, No.'s 11 and 12 St. Luke's Place housed two former tenants who were victimized by Ernest Hemingway. Max Eastman, the editor of the socialist magazine The Masses, was the owner of No. 11. Ernest Hemingway famously slapped Eastman across the face in the office of editor Maxwell Perkins, at Charles Scribner's Sons. The story goes that Hemingway took umbrage to a line Eastman wrote in his essay Bull in the Afternoon—a take on Hemingway's Death in the Afternoon—where Eastman says, "Come out from behind that false hair on your chest, Ernest. We all know you." In Perkins's office, Hemingway bared his chest to Eastman and asked him if his chest hair was real or not. He also asked him to read the lines from the essay in question to him. When Eastman demurred, Hemingway slapped him. Eastman contends that he threw Hemingway over a desk in retaliation, a claim Hemingway denies. "He didn't do any throwing around," said Hemingway. "He just sat and took it." 

Sherwood Anderson, the writer and tenant of the ground-floor apartment in No. 12, also was victimized by Hemingway. Anderson, who in 1921 wrote a letter of introduction for Hemingway and his wife, Hadley, to meet Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound in Paris, was a mentor to the young Hemingway. However, in his book Hemingway: The Writer As Artist, Carlos Baker writes the following:

Hemingway chafed at the linkage of his name with that of Anderson. In spite of his laconic letter of thanks for Anderson's having helped to get "In Our Time" accepted, he was not overjoyed to find that Anderson had written the laudatory blurb for the book jacket. To make matters worse, Herschel Brickell's review in the New York Post strongly implied that "My Old Man" had been influenced by Anderson's race-track stories. In 1923, Hemingway had specifically denied this allegation in a letter to Edmund Wilson. He also said that Anderson's later work had "gone to hell, perhaps from people in New York telling him too much how good he was."

As a way of distancing himself from Anderson, Hemingway sat down for a week, in 1926, and furiously wrote The Torrents of Spring, which is a savage satire of Anderson's book at the time, Dark Laughter. Hemingway’s book was considered "a public gesture of independence" and its rejection from his publisher, Horace Liverlight (also Anderson's publisher), allowed Charles Scribner's Sons to accept and publish it. Hemingway, on his way to stardom, had used Anderson as a step stool. The Sun Also Rises came out later that same year.

If the pool across the street seems familiar, it is because it was featured in the 1980 Martin Scorsese movie Raging Bull. Directly across the street, at 14 St. Luke's Place, is where the movie's star, Robert DeNiro, lived for over thirty years. Adorning the west wall of the pool is “Carmine Street Mural” by the late artist Keith Haring. It features fishes, dolphins, and mermaids in Haring's iconic style of drawing, each subject with the artist's signature radiance emitting from it.

I still owe you the peculiarity of St. Luke's Place. After No. 17, the street slightly bends and the numbers no longer follow the same sequence. You are now on Leroy Street. Trinity Church, which once owned this land, renamed this section of Leroy Street to St. Luke's Place. It is unique because the rowhouses have nothing opposite them; they look out on the pool and the park.

The pool and park allow for another peculiarity in the West Village: unobstructed light that hits the rowhouses. At that hour of the day, the sun starts arching west and its light shines through the trees that line the sidewalks. It gives a lovely light that bathes the facades in luminescent, almost ethereal light. And, for a moment, time seems suspended.

James J. Walker Park, now to the left, has a unique history itself. Beneath it lies St. John's Burying Ground—its headstones and ten thousand bodies still in their original place—a necropolis covered and converted to a park. A lot of the bodies that were once interred there have been removed. However, the "friendless dead" were left to be covered over. The only headstone that remains commemorates three firefighters who were killed in the line of duty more than one hundred and fifty years ago.

I stopped and watched a bit more of the game, wondering if those playing know the history of the ground they were playing on. Probably not.

My God, someone just got a hit.