March 17 and 18, 2020 (Tuesday and Wednesday)
Just before midnight I stepped out onto West 21st Street. The scene and the clear air reminded me of the late 1970s when there was still a glimmer of manufacturing activity left on the block. The nights were very quiet then. There was simply no reason to be in that part of town since very few people lived there. In those days, at about midnight, for some reason, the taxi garage emptied itself. The oversized checker cabs lined the previously empty curbs bumper to bumper. That was before the clubs popped up, long before restaurants, other than the Greek-run diners, moved in.
I rode south down Seventh Avenue. Pretty empty, but I was not alone. At Greenwich Avenue I angled southeast to continue south and observe MacDougal Street, wondering if it could be as sparse as Seventh. It was empty—not empty like being in your own bed if you live alone, but more empty than I have ever seen it, even at 3 or 4 in the morning.
With the wind blowing trash around the empty streets I was reminded of times in this city when something had gone terribly wrong.
Spring still days away.
With so many open projects I am trying desperately not to record this new crisis in what is my home but here are a few words from tonight.