I am not a morning person. But every now and then I find myself up at the crack of dawn, with little to do, so I venture outdoors. It’s an entirely different world. Sunday was such a day where I found myself wandering downtown as the sun began to arch high over East Houston Street. Something about early light seems a bit brighter, harsher than later in the day when the streets are more populated. Maybe there simply aren’t that many morning people living in my neighborhood.
One real problem living in the City That Never Sleeps is that I never sleep. I might doze off on the couch after dinner but I’m up again in time for the 11 o’clock news and ready to walk the dog. Then I’m up, often at the computer, typing away, way past the wee hours. Even if I go out for a glass of wine I’m up again at 2 am with a sugar rush. Then following day I roll out of bed far later than I’m willing to admit.
Enter the iPad
There’s something particularly comforting about couch computing. Wrap myself in a slanket, put on my German knitted slippers, boot up Netflix or download a book, and sleep won’t be too far away.
Took a walk through the neighborhood to see what’s changed. It’s truly amazing how the mind becomes flooded with memories and space is transformed back in time: the pizza place where we’d buy 15 cent slices at lunchtime, the old music room at JHS 3, strolling down Bleecker from my friend’s place on Charles.
Making my way down narrow sidewalks, tilting my umbrella for passersby so as not to become tangled in some rainy day mishap. I recalled walking on Bedford, to and from school, skipping and jumping over steps that still protrude onto the uneven walkway. Then there was that day in November we were dismissed early, half crying, trying to comprehend what had taken place in Dallas.
But I wouldn’t be walking that route for long. Only a few months later I transferred to another school with an entirely different route. Nowadays, more often than not, I ride my bike through the narrow streets of the West Village, too fast to soak up the details. Today, navigating the pavement afoot, was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon.
Earlier this month Rocco Ristarante closed. This traditional Italian restaurant was a staple on Thompson Street since it was opened by Rocco Stanziano in 1922. It featured a rich old world interior with black and white tile floors. When the weather was warm they’d open the front doors to create an open air cafe. Word on the street is that the landlord wanted to raise the rent from $8,000 to $18,000 per month. Maybe another restaurant will open in its place.
We never did get around to eating at Rocco’s and at this point I guess we never will. Even so, we’ll miss this part of the Italian American community that was Thompson Street and their lovely old neon sign.
UPDATE: According to Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York the space will be taken over by “the super trendy Torrsi” who wanted to keep the old sign. Turns out, Rocco’s is taking it with them.
Having yet another trendy restaurant isn’t as bad as, say, another Starbucks, but its one more hole in, what once was, a vibrant Italian American community.
Although I’ve had my iPhone 3Gs for over two years now it’s only recently I’ve become interested in its photographic potential. Maybe it’s the loss of my Canon G10 — that went the way of London pickpocketers this past fall — maybe it was just inevitable.
While it’s not quite as convenient as a point & shoot for some situations, it is the camera I always have with me, whether I’m running, biking, walking the dog, or shooting a an event with my real cameras. And I’m quickly developing an appetite for apps and it’s Lo-Fi appeal. Either way, its something to do on a cold winter afternoon.