No one really talks about the Manhattan Bridge that much, the fourth and last of the major bridges built to span the East River, and that’s because it’s ugly. Even its approach off of Canal Street, with its granite arch and flanking columns, doesn’t do it for me. Can you believe that! I guess I won’t try to reclaim absolutely everything in this world for beauty. Not yet at least. I mean a guy’s got to eat at some point right? Speaking of which, you gonna finish that? No, no that’s fine, I don’t mind mayonnaise.
The bridge does serve some purpose though, besides not being water, and that’s its role as aerial walkway above the ever expanding Chinatown. I’ve often thought that it’s a perfect place to first approach the neighborhood, where the good smells rise up above the rest of them. One of my favorite spots is on the northern walkway, as you approach Manhattan, looking at the intersection of Eldridge and Division Street. That skinny building in the center reminds me of a truncated and tenemented Flat Iron Building. It makes the short list of apartments I would like to live in. My girlfriend can’t believe it, but you know what it is: that turret-like corner with its windows really does it for me. And they all face south, which can be especially important in the wintertime. It’s something like the feeling I get when I see an airplane flying west at sunset, catching the complete and final last rays of the sun. I’d like to spend some time up there. I also like the non-stop produce market across the street, beneath the bridge. It’s the kind of market where you feel like you have to be angry and shouting the entire time you’re buying food. Something Shakespearean maybe, or at least like Johnny Boy in “Mean Streets.” Yeah, I really like that kind of thing. Reminds me of the oft-maligned Paul McCartney, “and though she feels as if she’s in a play, she is anyway.”
We are, aren’t we? Let’s have some fun with it. I think of the times in my life I’ve been allowed back on a bus while totally intoxicated. It’s like acting almost! In Australia they’ll ask you when you get on, wait a minute, now wait a minute son, are you pissed? But no, you’ll say, no, no, I’m actually quite happy.
(Originally posted Jan. 30th, 2009 on Takethehandle.com)