Summer, your Mama’s callin’

Bathers near the pier off Gansevoort, mid-20th Century.

Gansevoort Street is where, 205 years ago, the City Commissioners decided to make Manhattan a real estate Mecca. Well, less a Mecca for pilgrimages with a return ticket than a Valhalla to die for. 

I am seated in front of a store called Ample Hills Creamery and facing the street looking south. To my right is Bubby’s, a restaurant that is known for high-priced if top-notch fried chicken, and movie stars. This street forms part of the southern border wending the width of the island and, combined with its northern companion at 155th Street, makes the former “Island of Many Hills” (“Welikia,” in the Lenape tongue) certainly unattainable to any descendants of tribe, and all but unattainable for most who don’t look like me or come from the Pacific Rim. 

That aside, it’s a beautiful day.

The highline is one block west, and its southern terminus is at the new Whitney Museum. This Whitney houses art that is just as inaccessible and oblique as that of its Upper East Side forbear, but the institution’s pretentiousness is redeemed by its multiple terraces, which afford views east toward the Empire State Building or south toward Freedom Tower. It is, indeed, a great addition to the neighborhood.

Pedestrians are enjoying the seasonable temperatures in the low 60s, yet not quite ready to ease their grip on the low 80s of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Autumn will seek to wipe its muddy feet at the threshold and find that the welcome mat is still stored in New Yorkers’ hallway closet. 

Summer, your Mama’s callin’

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