You can give them to the birds and bees

The past few days, weatherwise, have been NYC best case scenario — blue-skied, crisp and clear. Seriously the visibility is so high you can identify the different types of cars driving on the FDR while riding down Washington Ave. in Clinton Hill, looking out at the skyline across the river. Last night I even saw some constellations from a Boerum Hill rooftop. The breeze no longer carries summer’s perpetual half-garbagey tang. The first turning leaves are just starting to show but everything else is still deep, dark green.

But in spite of all this everyone seems off, just a little bit more than usually on edge. At the farmer’s market, of all places, I overheard two fights. One was between a woman — ordinary, glossy-haired, thirtysomething — who’d been shortchanged while buying mushrooms, and a Greenmarket volunteer. “You’re making me feel like I’m going crazy,” she kept saying. The other was between an older black lady with a young daughter or granddaughter in tow and a young, pretty fruit-seller with a thick Slavic accent. The latter announced that the former owed $19 for her bags of peaches and nectarines, but the woman either didn’t understand or was pretending not to. “One-nine?” she kept saying as she tried to hand the fruit-seller a $2 voucher. The kid stood there, pretending not to know her.

13 comments to You can give them to the birds and bees

  • arthur

    Could be they are subscribers to the Wall Street Journal???

  • Niall, New York

    Some grandkid, huh? Here’s her grandma – making some moves, hustling the stalls, working hard to put a few nectarines on the table, a peach or two in the family fruitbowl, and the kid has the gall to pretend she came alone.

  • Rebecca A.

    I thought everyone was happy and having fun in NYC in the fall, just like in “You’ve Got Mail”!! You mean to say it isn’t so?

  • Lukas

    Yes. I have two friends who broke up with their boyfriends around the same time and I just learned that one BF is now at a psychiatric ward and the other is home with his parents in Wyoming, on lots of new meds. Then I saw a lady get her purse stolen. And a Pratt kid who played very bad guitar on the F train and then went to each person, one by one, asking them for change (“Hello Friend, I’m a struggling musician, would you be so kind…”). This all happened over the course of 36 hours. Stay home if you can.

  • Brooklyn’s the only place in NYC I could ever even consider living. Seems like the (cooler) people I know from NYC either live there or have at one time or another, and they usually remember it fondly. My sis met her husband in Greenpoint (he’s Polish, go fig). I think I’d make it like a few months in NYC, maybe a couple season changes, max. Edgy people.

  • tw

    I really like your writing, but I wonder why you feel the need to use the descriptor “black” when you do not use the descriptor “white.” In your entry from the library the other day, you use such fun language to characterize the “severely cardiganed” lady, but then you seem to only be able to come up with “black” to describe the black guy. I get that, being white, the black part is probably the first thing you notice about black people, but when you’re writing about white people you seem capable of such neat turns of phrase. And then you get to “older black lady,” which is jarring and seemingly lazy, when elsewhere in your prose you are clearly not.

    Or, fine, append “white” to all your descriptions of white people, and I’ll shut up.

  • owapapercut

    Sounds as though people in New York have as much trouble buying fruit as people in Florida have in voting

  • Colin

    In other news, on Wall Street, the world ended this week. Jeez. Peaches in Boerum Hill? Blue skies in NYC? Maybe there’s something else happening in New York you should be paying attention to. Like it just slid into the Atlantic Ocean, maybe.

  • C.F.

    In other news, on Wall Street, the world ended this week. As Manhattan Island rapidly disintegrates and slides into the Atlantic Ocean, Emily Gould sits on “a Boerum Hill rooftop” and writes about peaches and blue skies. La la la.

  • Lisa Rosenthal

    In other news, a truck bomb killed forty people and wounded more than 250 in Islamabad this week. Meanwhile Colin whines that no one is paying enough attention to Wall Street.

  • Tim

    I love it! It’s like California weather. As for the grumpy people, you would think they were allergic to nice weather or something. It’s like anathema to them. Perhaps their increased edginess is a way to bring the shit weather back, as if reality responds to suggestion (i.e., if I act miserable then everything around me will become miserable). I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it will last.

  • Niall, New York

    I think the autumn breeze is blowing an excess of earnestness our way. Lukas: Bummer about your friends, but it sounds like they have things under control, right? What with the parents and the meds and all? You should definitely still leave the house, at least until one of them takes a turn for the worst. Chris: We’re not that edgy. We let it all hang out. It’s in other parts of the country, where folks channel their tensions in crazy ways – like religion and potato salad – where you find the edgy ones. TW: I’m not sure, but it sounds like you’re really telling her how to see things rather than how to write them. Dangerous ground. Colin: We’ll make it through this one buddy, I promise. Hang in there. If you notice a measurable rise in the sea level that might indicate we’re sinking into the drink (and I assume you’re monitoring) please do notify someone, like the mayor’s office maybe. In the meantime, move your money into commodities or offshore sovereign wealth funds. I’m putting mine into peaches. Ahem.

  • Nothing good has ever followed the phrase, “I really like your writing, but…”

    I wonder what news copy would look like if we inserted “white” in front of every description.

    “McCain, a white Senator from Arizona, voted against the bill.”

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