It was the sort of rare day made you forget that Manhattan experienced less than five minutes of spring every year. The air was warm, yet crisp. The streets didn’t carry that nauseating summer miasma of garbage. Well…not so much that you couldn’t ignore it. Even Bethel seemed to be pudging along with a happy rhythm.
“Look. Your damned fat dog is dancing to the Puerto Rican music.”
The salsa in the air suddenly poured over my head like porridge. It was oozing through the barred windows of many buildings, gushing through the open windows of cars. Normally, I was immune to it. I’d stopped hearing it unless it was pointed out to me.
“Moira, there are Latin people in your neighborhood.”
“No, there aren’t. There are many white people. And some Europeans.”
“Europeans are often white people. While we are on the subject of wonderful neighbors, is your downstairs neighbor out of prison, yet? The one who was exposing himself to 12 year old girls in the courtyard?”
“No, he’s still in prison. I don’t believe he did that, anyhow. He never shook his dick at me, and I’ve been in the courtyard PLENTY of times.”
“You are too old for him, Moira.”
Moira smacked me. “Lesbianas,” muttered a grocery cart pushing middle-aged woman.
“Oh God!,” wailed Moira. “People think I’m a lesbian because you are!”
“People think you’re a lesbian because you’re violent, Moira. You are giving people a bad impression of lesbians. Holy shit. Look!”
Ahead of us, there was an unexpected crowd. A huge crowd that was going to keep us far away from a good view of the first wrecking ball swing. The destruction of the Loew’s 175th had apparently stirred the ire of midtown and lower Manhattan, which was shocking, since most of these people had been too afraid to venture this far north before. That fear had kept my rent low. I wanted them gone before they realized that nobody had mugged them. I didn’t want them deciding to move up.
Moira wailed, “We won’t be able to see the wrecking ball!”
“No, we won’t. But I think we’ll see a different kind of show,” I replied.
I snatched Bethel up to keep her from getting stepped on. In spite of her weight problem, she only weighed ten pounds. An extra pound or two looks like a lot when you are less than a foot tall. I would be able to hold her… for a while. Bethel eyed the sign carriers and growled.
Some of the signs were professionally done, others were written in crayon or marker. All of the signs had the same theme. They were all signs of protest. There were no signs of support. “MICKEY MICE ARE PESTS, ” proclaimed one. “DISNEY DESTROYS CITY NEIGHBORHOODS BY DEPRIVING THEM OF THE HISTORY, THE CULTURE, AND THE IDENTITY THEY DEVELOPED OVER THE DECADES OF GROWTH THEIR PEOPLE ACHIEVED WITHOUT CORPORATE RAPE DISGUISED AS ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY,” declared another.
“The teeny writing on that wordy sign isn’t going to show up on TV,” Moira noted.
On cue, the NY1 News Helicopter chopped its way above the buildings ahead of us. Everybody except us was going to see the Loew’s 175th Street come down. This was on television.