Saturday, November 1, 2014

Rainy night, New York.

There's little I like more than lousy weather and tonight's meteorology fits the bill. The temperature is in the low 40s, there's a light but punishing rain and the wind is blustery with, like a fine wine, a finish that has more than a hint of winter.

Whiskey and I decided to take a walk. We weren't able to make it up to the beach today and we were both feeling a little house bound. So I threw on my ancient oilskin, adjusted a wool baseball cap and accoutred Whiskey with her collar and leash. Then we headed out to the walk by the river to see what trouble we could scrounge up on the first of November, a Saturday night, the night after Halloween.

The wind and rain had swept the hexblock promenade free of people, pigeons and rubbish. Thirty feet below the walkway was the teeming FDR Drive. Even on the darkest, loneliest nights it is filled with blurs of light--red going downtown, white up. Manhattanites are always in a rush to get somewhere even when it's nowhere. Twenty feet, or less, below the Drive is the East River, dark as a Hasid tonight, and roiled from the wind and rain. It is empty of boats, even the sludge boats that transfer Manhattan detritus 12 miles out to sea to dump.

I released Whiskey from her leash--against the law but I was willing to take my chances against the cops--hoping she would run into another pup and could, perhaps, burn off some of the day's lassitude. She stuck by my side like she was affixed by velcro, only occasionally romping ahead to splash through a shallow puddle of rain water.

We saw a black dog--a real one, not a metaphor--on a grassy area and walked over there. The two pups chased each other in a long circle snapping at each other's hinds and rollicking in the high grass. After 15 minutes they were played out. I said 'gnight' and we continued uptown, past the tall mast adjacent to the Mayor's Mansion. There were, as usual, three flags. On the highest point, the American waving in the gusts, and on a cross spar, the flag of the City of New York, orange white and blue with and Indian and a Dutchman in a seal in the center, and then the black flag with a white profile, symbolizing our MIAs from the too many wars we begin.

I was pleased to see the stone lighthouse on Roosevelt Island's northern tip, a light that was extinguished two years ago by Hurricane Sandy is back and bright white. It's one of those signs I look for, a bit of permanence in a transient world. I suppose if the light is ever razed and replaced by a Starbucks or a Korean nail-salon, I will cash in my chips and say my time here is done.

We walked up past Gracie Mansion, down to where the walkway is just a few feet from the river on one side and the drive on the other. Usually, stout Puerto Ricans are out with their fishing tackle. But not tonight. They're home wishing that somehow the World Series was still on, even though it's November, and polar, and it's raining altogether too hard.

Whiskey and I had reached the apogee of our walk and returned to the orbit of our warm and well-lit apartment, stopping on the way to gallop through the little fields off-limits to dogs when the weather is warm, and making it home before either of us was too thoroughly soaked.

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