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Houston Street

My Neighborhood

I stroll and pass a bar, quiet at this time of day. I hear the roar of angry cars zooming past me. Houston Street is never quiet. The cars are always in a hurry. I can smell coffee wafting towards me, and a girl rushes past me. She is holding a cup of coffee in one hand, and a cell phone in the other. She is probably a college student late for class. There are many people walking their dogs, or babies. All of then seem to be in a rush to go somewhere, looking at the ground as they walk. The wind is blowing, scattering litter every where. A postman shields himself for a moment, with a deep look of annoyance on his face. He is throwing letters into the gates of unopened shops, like a warrior throwing a spear, grumbling to himself all the while. I turn up Sullivan Street, and the noise is muffled. No cars are coming down the street. I pass the toy like townhouses. To my right is the Netherland restaurant opening its doors. I walk up the street, and it is a drastic change from noisy, messy Houston. There is not a soul in sight, and I can’t her the car horns. I reach Bleecker Street, and pop into the small pharmacy across the street from a large CVS. I ask the woman behind the counter if she was from around here. She says no, and I ask her if she likes the neighborhood. She replied in broken English and asked me if I was going to sue her. I was quite taken aback. I was only trying to make conversation- I meant no harm (or legal action). I try to explain that I did not mean to sue her, but then I gave up and left. Bleecker Street has an odder assortment of people than Houston. There are people in ties, punks, moms and hoboes. The hoboes stand at street corners and ask for loose change, waggling their empty coffee cups. Mmm. . . it smells like hot dogs. My mouth is watering. I quickly run down to the ‘underdog’ and buy a hot dog. Yum, it’s delicious. I wondered why that storeowner was so afraid if me. I am chewing on that thought. (And my hot-dog)

The story was posted on 2004-03-26