Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday Music for THE FUTURIST! in New York

In 2007, THE FUTURIST! assisted his good friend Michael move his books, clothing and other living essentials to a room, of sorts, at a building owned by The School of Visual Arts on Lexington Ave and East 23rd Street in Manhattan. Michael was attempting to achieve his goal of a graduate's degree in Art Criticism. The room was nothing but a large closet. A bunk bed that had no lower berth. Instead it had an attached desk that one could sit at with his head bowed and back arched. One window ... fogged with grime and a view of a brick wall. A bathroom with a sink, toilet and shower with no curtain. The air conditioner did not work. The window was quite difficult to raise. THE FUTURIST! assisted his friend in bringing all his belongings into the room. Clothes went into a meager closet and the boxes of books were placed on the floor. Michael had too many books. The amount of books caused a zig-zagging path to the bathroom or window. It was incredibly dreary. THE FUTURIST! and his friend sat on the floor and sighed. This was were his friend was to live for the next year, at least. The melancholy of the environs was overwhelming. THE FUTURIST! saw sadness envelop his friend.

For many months thereafter, THE FUTURIST! would visit his friend in New York. He would take NJ Transit bus 164 from Utter Despair into the Port Authority on 8th between 40th and 42nd Streets. He would walk there to Lexington and down to East 23rd Street to meet his friend for a weekend day. This happened no matter the season. This was THE FUTURIST! really true introduction to Manhattan and an area of it he had never traveled to ... he saw Art Galleries, Kim's Video on St. Mark's Place, went to the MoMA, ate in various restaurants and enjoyed the sensations of his friend's bohemian existence.

THE FUTURIST! was never a coffee drinker, but his friend introduced him to the pleasures of delicious black coffee with no milk, no sugar. Black and hot. Many times he and his friend sat in coffee shops near the East 20s drinking and talking. Many times as they walked people would stop them to ask directions or where such and such an address was located. These people would always direct the query to THE FUTURIST! and not his friend. It was odd. The strangers assumed THE FUTURIST! was the New Yorker. Was it his demeanor, his clothing, his sense of self? Friend Michael was the actual New Yorker in a sense. He was very familiar with his surroundings and led THE FUTURIST! about, but for some reason, THE FUTURIST! seemed to be the one they felt comfortable with to approach. THE FUTURIST!'s friend was taller, attractive and had more of a confident presence, yet THE FUTURIST! was the one these people kept their eyes on for assistance. This always irked Michael's ego.

The song below was heard by THE FUTURIST! in a cafe one cold New York day as he waited for his friend. He had a few cups of coffee and sat at a small window table in his wool top coat. Due to limited space a young woman came to the same table and sat near THE FUTURIST! She asked him several questions in halted English about the neighborhood. Her accent sounded French. She was very pleasant and friendly. THE FUTURIST! had no idea what she was talking about ... but it was such a relaxing experience. She kept calling him a New Yorker. She asked if he was famous. What? She liked his coat and asked if he lived in New York for a long time. She seemed to be visiting the area to see a friend who sang at a cabaret or something. Her sing song voice and charm lulled THE FUTURIST! as he smiled and nodded and said what he could interject in between her rapid speech. It was one of those moments one experiences that makes everything disappear. All woes, all despair, all future and present and past raise from the hard cold ground like mist and dissipate. Eventually, the girl got up, said goodbye and walked out the door into the cold windy day. THE FUTURIST! saw her figure disappear past a the edge of his view from the window. He will never forget those brief moments in his Life.


performed by Sting


Dara said...

Great entry! Very personal and vivid, yet simply put.

I've always liked this tune as well. When I was younger I don't think I really understood what a "legal alien" was. There was only one kind of alien I knew of, and I may have thought this song was about an extra-terrestrial living in Manhattan.


Thank you, Dara.