Wednesday, November 24, 2010


In November, the gingko trees on East Eleventh Street are even more thrilling in the dark than in the day.

Lit by lamplight, they glow while music plays from the windows of the music school. Usually violins or piano.

I remember walking down this street years ago, when the streetwalkers used to stroll and ask for a light or the time, then ask for a date. I lit their cigarettes and looked at my watch. I never went with them.

Walking under these trees today makes me think about those girls and wonder where they are now.

There's something arresting about these golden gingkos. They make you stop, look up, and be still.


Anonymous said...

That was my block for twenty plus years...thanks for this. (Yet sad to think that many of those young girls probably did not make it out of the crack years...)

Anonymous said...

the trees are really beautiful
my beautiful bike was locked to a parking meter on east 11th in front of the music school -before muni meters, and the thief flipped the bike up over the meter, I'd twisted my chain to prevent that, but somehow the thief undid the twist. Smart thief.
$600.00 bike twenty year ago. Still think of that bike, though now I rollerblade cause I can carry those anywhere I go indoors.
One of the girls was a friend of a friend.
We spent an entire day driving the streets with the girl's parents hoping to bring here home. We didn't find her that day, and she soon died.
Sad street, there across from st marks church, ey?

Anonymous said...

Though Gingkos remind you of the girls, they remind me of my father who would always tell me that they are one of the oldest genus' of trees in the world. I wonder......

Jeremiah Moss said...

your father was right--they are also known as "living fossils."

Mark said...

I lived around the corner on 12th Street for 35 years, my apartment rising above the music school. We mostly had Bradford & Callery Pears planted on our block, but we had the same working girls. The triple punch of AIDS, crack and NYU cleared all those girls out, ultimately. It was diffcult watching them sicken, die or disappear, in spite of how hated they were by the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

These photos remind me that the gingko trees beauty might just be enough to offset the incredible stink of crushed gingko fruits that often accompany these trees' bloom, so thank you for that. It's worth putting up with a bit of malodorousness for moments of pure beauty like that, isn't it?

Ayun said...

The Zinester's Guide to NYC has tips for preparing sidewalk-harvested gingko nuts...try it. You will have a hilarious, labor-intensive, totally free (except for the sea salt) NYC adventure.