Friday, October 1, 2010


. Someone once wrote that the way to make life more interesting is to "turn" from your routine as you went through your day. "Turn." Why that word I wonder? I don't know. But by 'turn,' he meant something as simple as taking a new route home from work or to and from the store or walking the dog. I thought, as I read this, 'this is the secret to life? ya gotta be kidding' But what he was getting at was that you'd see new things, you wouldn't be traveling on automatic pilot. And that this was important. Crazy thing is, he was right. Or at least it felt right last Friday. In the early evening, as I was lurching downtown on the 'F' train, I thought about calling Al (significant other) and asking if he'd like to see a movie that was playing uptown. Since you can't use your cell on the subway, I had to get out at the next stop to make a call the old fashioned way, and that stop happened to be Delancy Street, the heart of the Lower East Side, and the region of New York City that implies to anyone who's been to New York, and "turned" from the usual tourist sites, or read certain novels, the old, Turn -of -the -Twentieth Century, ethnic, Italian and Jewish (in particular) immigrant experience. I'm not sure why they picked Delancey to be decorated in original, and enormous mosaics, devoted to the sea no less, when so many of the other subway stops are grimy, even filthy, with loose or missing tiles, but somehow it happened. Ahh, I've done a little digging, literally as I was writing this. The entire collection -- on the downtown side -- is called "Shad Crossing" and it was completed by artist Ming Fay in 2004. And it's not an odd choice of theme after all. It does relate to the immigrant destination that this area used to be, as shad fish swim upstream in the spring, and so represent the tens of thousands of immigrants who travelled the ocean back 100 years or so, to make New York City their new home. I guess using a pay phone was another moment of "turning." As I dropped a quarter into the phone, I was already feeling as though I'd entered a time warp, I was already enjoying myself. And although Al had no interest in getting into the train and travelling a half hour to the theater, as soon as I hung up, I went up to the wave of tiny blues and aquas, grays, greens, whites you see here, and examined it for its minute, and incredible detail.
It was a good as a movie.


  1. What a great mosaic, and how wonderful that you did the research to see how "Shad Crossing" tied into the area - AND into your deeper thoughts about life in general. Lovely! A blog on art and philosophy all rolled into one. And a pay phone, too! Much more than one bargains for a in a short blog. Thanks!