I went to the Union Square Greenmarket on Monday.

That isn't news, but this time I decided I was in no hurry to get home.

On the way over, walking along West 21st Street, I passed a place called 'Taj', with a new pop-up construction the consequence of the demands of the pandemic, a bar area at the sidewalk curb, but, since it's all wrapped in a characterless white fabric screen, has no signage whatsoever, and since it was a perfectly quiet scene at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, it reminded me more of the temporary morgue recently installed in the West Village, just one mile southwest, than a high-end lounge and event space.



Once at the market, I immediately headed for what is probably my favorite fish stand: I found that the P.E. & D.D. Seafood family had already been doing a brisk business: much of their haul had already been erased from the white board at the back of the stall. Fortunately I'm flexible when it comes to market fare, and a surviving entry, "cooked conch" was all I needed for a feast.


Two minutes later I fwas in line at the Eckerton Hill Farm stand (terrific vegetables), behind, and socially distant from, this sweet couple waiting ahead of me.


It was a beautiful day, at least so far (more on that below), so after leaving Union Square, now loaded down with supplies, when I arrived at Madison Square I sat down on one of the benches in the pedestrian triangle south of 23rd St., to take in the scene, a very New York scene, but one that had supposedly been seriously impacted by the ongoing pandemic.

But except for the face masks and the distancing (I occupied the entire 6' bench while I sat there, and had no challengers), it really didn't look - or sound - like anything had happened, like anything was happening.


A tiny bird pecked at a discarded pastry crumb near my feet (a moment before it had been competing for a number of pieces with some 10 of its fellows.


To the right there were people, like myself, hanging out, alone or in groups, with the glorious Empire State rising in the distance, and, out of my sight, a striking rhythm produced by a percussion set likely improvised from unconventional materials. When I left I learned they were plastic buckets and what appeared to be found sticks.


Across from me was a familiar and reassuring mass, the Flatiron Building, and at its base, a familiar and reassuring variety of New Yorkers, coming, going, or just resting.


On my left sat one of our current life support heroes, a food delivery bicyclist, on a quick break from his duties.


As I sat there in the sun, in reverie, there was a sudden crack of thunder. No one budged right away, or looked up. I did and I saw nothing but blue sky. I had no umbrella. Eventually there was some movement among my fellows on the gravel, and I soon became a part of it.

The downpour began a few minutes later, just after I had crossed 23rd Street.

Some store awnings kept me from really getting wet, and almost as quickly as it had begun, the rain was almost over.

A few minutes later however, as I approached my building, I saw that the sidewalks, especially those that displayed special character, were still enjoying the shower, even as it faded.

When I had returned to the apartment, I checked out the condition of our little garden, pleased that once again I had been spared the task of watering it myself.


The rest of the day was, ..more heaven.

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This stuff is always humbling.

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Patriarch on East 18th Street.

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Not dawdling.

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When Broadway seems to be floating.


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Sometimes a dumpster can add a little something to a very plain street.

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When I got up in the middle of the night I found myself captivated by the folds of my bedsheet and light summer blanket; to me they suggested a wild Böcklin or Friedrich landscape, only more abstracted (for more detail, turn up the brightness control on your computer).


Some of the greens found at the Greenmarket are surprising.