A Stranger No More . . .
Last weekend I met this emo kid who wasn’t so much a kid. Very tall and gaunt, with the look of a man twice his age, my guess is that he was either a college freshman or a runaway.
Our conversation lasted a few minutes, and with all the spiritual activity in NYC, I should have forgotten about him. But his face continues to surface in my memory.
I’m sure I’ve met him before, though he looked older . . .
On the day our paths crossed, he was searching for something by Copper Union. I’m certain it was of the supernatural order. Yesterday I went back to the spot where I met him on Astor Place to see if I could find “it” myself.
I came up from the Astor Place subway kiosk that’s nestled in the center of a small triangle. It’s surrounded by three streets, E 8th, Lafayette, and 4th Ave.
Parked next to the station at the curb was an orange-colored, Mud Coffee truck. I got a small cup of Joe and sweetened it up real nice because it was the afternoon.
My iPod was off though I still plugged the wires in my ears. My plan was to shuffle around, enjoy the coffee, and hope no one would suspect I was looking for something preternatural. Moreover, I would be able to focus without anyone thinking I was a nut.
(Photos by Bald Punk – Alamo sculpture, Astor Pl. Station & Mud Coffee truck)
I had hardly taken my first sip of Joe when crepuscular shadows started to creep in. I was right on time.
If there is paranormal activity, the gloaming is not the best time to spot an apparition, but it’s easier in that hour to detect shadowy drifts of energy that coalesce around haunted spaces.
I hung around by the coffee truck and grooved to a tune I was making up in my head. My hands were fisted, though my movements weren’t that pronounced, so I kinda looked cool, and not so much like a loon.
I am prone to spontaneous dance moves. There is usually a resonant thrumming coursing through me. It’s hard to contain myself at times without a dance-step or two.
Here and there on the streets were thin spots of vaporous light, but I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary until the last quarter of the gloaming. By then I had moved over to Lafayette Street, near the entrance to K-Mart.
A hazy shape lingered on the sidewalk out in front of Cooper Union’s Foundation Building. Constructed on its own little block in Cooper Square in 1859, the building is a six-story brownstone that has an arched main entranceway. The arched design repeats over various large windows.
I also spotted a static cloud under the building’s main entrance on Astor Place. Soon after a silhouette appeared in a window on the 4th floor, right above the stone Cooper Union name.
I believed the figure might have been a real person, until it drifted higher in the window.
(Cooper Union Foundation Building)
I turned my attention to the barest of whispers. They sounded like a passing train or trolley car. It was definitely not the rumble of the subway. I was certain of that.
Soon it was time to leave and meet my lady friend and the pizza and Chinese delivery guys. We planned to have dinner a few blocks away at a great Mexican restaurant by West 8th and 6th Ave. The food is pretty good, plus they have a bar where you can load up by yourself on green, red, and brown salsas.
Once my mind was set on food, I had a greater calling and started off.
A moment later I heard a relay of voices. The only word I could make out was “coming,” which echoed.
To my unbridled excitement, I spotted “the kid!”
He took long, gangly strides as he came across 3rd Ave. He was headed toward the sidewalk in front of Cooper Union. His hands were shoved in the pockets of his long coat.
Something insubstantial stirred at his feet. All the shadows around him elongated and bent in ways that now seem maddening. A pale yellow aura circled behind his head and shoulders.
Forgetting myself, I loped across the street and grabbed him by the elbow. “Hey kid!” I cried. “What’s up?”
“Bald Punk!” he said, falling away from me. His long hair slinked around his head to reveal his humongous ears.
I was mesmerized as I realized who he reminded me of. “You look kinda like Abe Lincoln!” I said, smartly.
“No!” he said, in both shock and fear, and raised a hand to cover his ears up with his hair. “Don’t say that. Don’t ever say that. Especially here,” he said, his eyes darting about with a fearful light in them.
Here are the posts in this series: Episode Twenty-Five – January 2010
Around Cooper Square (Photos only)