A Strange View of the Big Apple
written by my friend Joe Grossman

[Ed. Note: This first appeared in a letter Joe sent me from New York to me at college in Portland. I thought it was just way way too cool not to be up on the web. Joe is one of my best friends, he just recently moved to New York with his girlfriend--to seek his fortune. Like Kara's monologue, this one is also rather eccentric. He begins, as you will read, describing New York but it gets rather silly.]

Joe: The security guard at the "Fairway" supermarket is convinced that I tried to steal a $2.69 tub of ricotta cheese. It's too complex to explain, but I didn't. Either way, he now keeps a very close eye on me every time I go in there. My first New York enemy! Yes, there are so many people who blend together to make this city what it is. From the guy who sells you your morning bagel to the cab driver who takes you home at night. The postman who delivers your mail and the police officer who is slipping a citation under your windshield wiper. It's the subway token clerk and the surly news agent; the boy selling pies on the street for a nickel each, and the gentry, riding their carriages down the lane. New York is the young, the old; the rich, and the poor. It's the shabby fellow drinking things he found in your garbage can and the milkman who always has a smile and change for a fin. It's the street-tough who won't let you walk on his block and it's the door-to-door bulb salesman. It's winters sipping cocoa and sweltering summer days waving to neighbors as they head to church. It's Chicken Floyd's General Store and Metzger's Pond, ablaze with fireflies on a damp August night. It's the waiter who overcharges you and the lap dancer who you don't have to pay at all if you don't want to. It's old Doc Rayburn and his boy with the extra finger on his wrist and it's the warm glow of a shared laugh at his expense. It's mornings jawing with the boys down at the bus stop, and it's marathon games of Battleship that seem like they could go on forever. It's the vibrancy of youth and the feebleness of the aged. It's the beauty of the girl next door and the wretchedness of her sister. Yes, New York is all of these things, but mostly, it's the lap dancer you don't have to pay if you don't want to.

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