As artists are deep in their third hour of sleep, having just turned out their last cigarette of the night, I walk past construction workers already on their second breakfast on my way to have my first cup of coffee before work. The workers sit on a stoop, passing judgment on the white collared New Yorker on his and her stride to the daily 9-5 grind. I am no exception in the TriBeCa crowd.
I only have three more hours to go in the day when I’m asked to run an errand. Walking along Church Street, south of Canal, I notice different players in the game. The “important” players; the genius minds and brilliant creators have come out to play. I become keenly aware that I have very little probability of being a Hemingway or a Frida as I am not a heavy drinker, but more importantly, I am a morning person.
I make a stop at my usual Café Colombe and find it quite foreign from the place I had been to that morning. Cuffed pants, thick-soled oxfords, and sharp angled zippered sweaters, all in different shades of gray and black inhabit the cafe. Gallery curators and artists, screenwriters and producers, designers and investors sit across from each other, contriving the next New York success (and Paris and London successes by default). The occasional financiers betrayed by their perfectly tailored suits, sit on the side lines, humbled by their lack of creativity, excited to be part of creation, and ideating a way to profit from beauty as they profit from everything else in life, an artistry all in itself with a six or seven figured painting their work of art.
I observe and wonder, if I cross my leg in just the right angle and squint my eyes as I look up into the abyss of the exposed brick wall of a café then maybe, just maybe, I will have a prodigious moment of my own. I mustn't forget the six-dollar double espresso (preferably black). I make a mental not to try this the next morning.
At 3pm, kids in TriBeCa are out on scheduled play dates with the their parents, nannies on the sidelines, of course, for much needed moral support. I become hyper aware of just how last season my clothes are when I walk past these 5 year old toddlers and realize they’re trendier than 24-year-old me. They even have the lackadaisically messy hair down to perfection. Fortunately, I regain some of my adult dignity when these same kids start throwing a tantrum, as little kids do. His mother, probably the head designer of “Rag & Bone” or lucrative job of the sort, helplessly tries to tame the child, yelling in some Scandinavian language. She finally looks to her nannie to be saved.
I arrive at my destination with a smile. My love for this neighborhood had grown a bit deeper; a microcosm of life’s disparities is painted in every hour of the day. There is no malice on these streets, just people going about their lives however fair or unfair those lives may be.
My afternoon stroll comes to an end and so I crawl into the computer window that is my own 9-5 life.