On a warm weekend night, at the corner of 2nd Ave. and St. Mark's, an older lady carrying groceries walks through the crowds of screamers, looks at the trash on the sidewalk and sighs, shakes her head.
"It's a pig sty," she says. "I moved to this neighborhood in 1967 and it was never, in all those years, such a pig sty."
Illustration by Victor Kerlow
"Even in the 70s?" I ask.
"No, in the 70s it was totally different. It was like after dark on Wall Street. So quiet. And clean. And then NYU came in and all these fast-food restaurants. Somewhere in the past ten years or so, boom! All these people showed up. And now it's a pig sty."
The light changes. We start walking.
"Eh, maybe I'm just getting old and cranky," she says.
"I'm getting old and cranky, too," I tell her.
"Well, then," she smiles, touching my arm, "Here's to the old and crankies!"
Note: This is the first in what may or may not become a series of true vignettes with original illustrations by the artist Victor Kerlow, whom I interviewed here.