Good morning, Friday and TGIFFFFFF. Yes, friends. Yes. I'm headed upstate on Sunday for a week \to wftc (work from the country) and get a little change of scene. After the past few weeks, I need a small respite from my beloved Brooklyn. And as the city comes back to life, a bit of a cautionary tale.
What's fantastic about this city, this heartland of mine is the people's resilience here. In the past few days, I've seen my Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens transform into a small European village, with outdoor seating and a bit of a return to something that did not feel normal, but lively. Traffic is back in the city in a big way, and there's more hustle and bustle than we've seen in a while. I feel like screaming "TOO BLOODY SOON," but I know that businesses are hurting, and we have to support them. As a relatively neurotic bunch, I'm wondering how comfortable we'll be trying on clothes in stores and getting our hair done and everything else. That's all very much TBD, and I'm admittedly in the minority of people yearning for the early days of quarantine- not the people dying and the fear but the strange sense of calm that came over this entire town. It was like "Vanilla Sky" when you drove through Manhattan- an empty canyon that had a sense of peace and beauty to it I've never experienced in my whole life here.
But cut to now.
I have friends hitting the road for good. Some have decamped to Connecticut for a year or so to see what happens back here. Others stay in their Catskills homes for good right now and let go of their leases in Manhattan. I don't blame them at all. I'm not one of them, and I'm not super interested in leaving right now. I am one of those romantic fucks that still loves this city. Unconditionally and at all costs. Talk to me in a few months, but I still want to hang. If anything, I'd choose to leave the damn country if I could. But that's a whole other thing.
Which brings me to the cat pictured at the top of this post.
As I walked to a stoop glass (or three) of Sauvignon Blanc with an old colleague who lives in the neighborhood, I walked by this guy. There he was, just sitting on his stoop. Not a care in the whole world. Grizzled but handsome in a rugged, edgy kind of way. I am not one for cats, but I do admire their gravitas and general FU gestalt. Plus, they have character. And I like that.
So as I walked by, his owner unloaded her car and casually looked at me and said in her best Brooklyn deadpan, "That's Steve McQueen."
I asked if I could take his picture, to which he remained aloof, but I like this shot, which says admire me but don't fucking look at me. I can relate. Very much.
To me, this cat epitomizes what I love about New York and always will. Somewhat disheveled at present, but way cooler than you could ever hope to be. A majestic figure, highly intelligent, and a bonafide badass, living right on my block.
I realized as I walked by him, I was not yet ready to leave this cuckoo town. Because I still get such a kick out of it all. Of the old Italians that now drink their coffee alfresco and watch what's happening on the street. Of the beautiful, leafy streets of my beloved Brooklyn in the summertime. Of stoop hangs with old colleagues and chilled wine. Or the dad next door who spent hours inflating a lovely pool for his two boys complete with doughnut inner tubes, to the delight of the little girls that live next to them who peer over their fence in wonder at this summer standout. And of course, animals with names that make your whole day. You may find a cat named after a cooler than cool movie star in Connecticut, and you very well may not. And that matters to me. I've explained it as well as I could, but many of you know exactly what I mean. Particularly this funny feline named Steve McQueen. He gets it.
I'll stay in this city until it no longer serves me. But right now, I still need it, and it needs me. PS I'm not a martyr and I don't want a medal. I'm just sharing what's up in my little neck of the woods. I wish everyone safety and health, continue to fight for what matters to you, and what matters to help us all keep going. Yours, in cool cats and sheltering in my place. XO