Friday, November 17, 2006

Hide in Public

More Than Donuts just posted a beautiful piece about New York City. She relates how NY residents see the city differently (or not at all) depending on their state of mind. Thus there are a limitless number of NY’s. Add to those, the NY observed by the commuters at various times of their days, and the sensations that New York generates are infinite.

I think the best memories may arise from little out of place things one sees, knows they are there, and accepts as a part of the city. A fellow named Joe and I used to walk downtown once or twice a week. We went south on Park Ave to about 34th St. Then cross town to Herald Sq. and duck into the Hudson Tubes to Jersey. On the cross-town street, I think it was 34th, there was a large, staid, old bank. Beside the road they had trees planted in very large containers (pots). One evening we noticed a small marijuana plant which had taken root in one of the containers. We amused ourselves by wondering if “pot” planted in a “pot” qualified as a “potted plant” -- and variations. All summer we would walk by that plant and occasionally comment on its growth. Many thousands of New Yorkers walked by that plant every day. Probably a conservative 95% knew what a marijuana plant looked like. I hesitate to understate an estimate of the percentage that used pot. But yet it grew undisturbed. Did it suggest that that the locals believed that rights were attached to “As he sows, so shall he reap?” Some one sowed and it was his right to reap?

Anyway, come fall, one week the plant was gone. In a small town you might ask around and try to determine who did it. In NY, it was gone and that was the end of the story.

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