June 9, 2003

June 09, 2003 12:51 PM

Here I am in my old neighborhood in New York. I arrived last night into a large crush of people going through the two lane security check at Newark Airport. Later , I see a man lying by the side of the highway ramp. He is surrounded by huge black birds and there are even two of them picking through garbage on his lap. It looks like the birds are there with the man as scavengers going through trash that has been dumped out. The man looks sated . The birds keep pecking. The traffic is so bad that the shuttle van is trapped inside the Holland Tunnel. I could not detect the carbon monoxide due to the nerve damage from my head injury of two years ago, but I could feel the nausea effect in my body. Deadly fumes: the perfect welcome mat to Manhattan. At my destination, I get out in front of Katz’s Deli. As I head out for a meal after dropping off my bags at the apartment on Ludlow Street, the superintendent gets my attention by announcing the corpse of a tenant was just found upstairs after an odor became unbearable and the police kicked in the door. The body was found lying in a circle of empty beer bottles and an unopend bottle of vodka. He says the odor is still in the building as the body was undiscovered for a week.

As my food is set before me at the cafe next door, I reflect on the loss of the sense of smell and realize that I have just arrived and have already had a number of “New York Stories” as such events are called here. What is interesting to me is the fact that I live elsewhere and then when I return “home” here , I can see these “stories.” When you live in Manhattan full time, you become immune and jaded and no longer see them. This is yet another reason why I discovered that the best of both worlds is to maintain a home elsewhere and simply make periodic visits to NYC.

Today I make phone calls and set up meetings with a number of folks I know. I am also looking forward to the Matthew Barney exhibit at the Guggenheim. I plan on going up there tomorrow.

…………… B E L I E V E