Murder On The Bowery

Dear New York,

It seems to me that these days you’ve been quiet, suffocated even, as if a runaway from Bellevue now has their hands around your throat. 

Nowadays, you make me want to cry. 

Maybe the rats have finally overrun you, or maybe your soul has been ripped from inside of you, leaving you just a hollow body, devoid of what once made you who you were. Maybe it’s yet another one of your million trust fund refugees, fleeing their bleak suburban upbringing for the chance to sip coffee in one of your corner shops where a cup that used to be a buck is now six. Maybe it’s the fact that your putz of a mayor is a Red Sox fan. 

I don’t know what it is, my friend, but you’re bringing me down. 

I think of the old you, the one who taught me how to jump turnstiles and j-walk. 

It’s been too long since we last met, since I saw the real you, long before you were all dolled up with your new shining glass condos, their presence acting as bold red lipstick or strikingly pink blush on your scarred face.   

New York, it seems to me that you are about as injured as the Yankees starting lineup, about as flawed as the Knicks’ front office. 

The streets of Washington Heights on summer evenings are quieter than they once were, and your stoops ache for the touch of paint-splattered jeans and the sound of lusty arguments over what the Post said that day.

Your top schools haven’t produced notable alumni since the last time a game was won in Madison Square Garden, since before there was a bustling new train line running down Second Avenue. 

Whole parts of you seem to be boarded up, tired pieces of wood standing in windows where grandparents would once sit, focused, and watch their babies play gaily on the sidewalk below. 

The people of the Upper East Side still have too many clothes and not enough books, and on the other side of the park, on the Upper West side, the people still have too many books and not enough clothes. 

New York, my dear, you seem to be losing Queens to Long Island, Brooklyn to a vexatious crowd of hipster doofuses. 

Where CBGBs once stood, there is now a store that sells thousand dollar jackets embellished with memories of what once was, and it’s needless to say that Joey Ramone wouldn’t step foot in that place anymore, even though the street it’s on bears his name.

Canarsie is foreign to the idea of a train station within walking distance, and the subway deserts from West Farms to East Flatbush would kill for just a drop of accessibility. 

Every day it seems, the few speakers left of your native tongue- the quintessential Yiddish-Spanglish dialect- disappear just like your yellow cabs; a language dying right where it was born.  

 And, day by day, it looks as if the thinning number of kids who take the subway to Bronx Science are slowly losing their way, and meanwhile, across the street, DeWitt Clinton yearns for another like James Baldwin to grace its halls. 

Right now, my friend, you’re gasping for air, your last breaths appearing like smoke in the cold winter sky. 

I can only stand and watch as the life leaves your eyes, as you slowly drift away from me, as if you have somewhere else to go.

And soon, in the blink of an eye, you’re gone, leaving me alone with your killer, his eyes illuminated brightly with insanity, your limp body in his arms just waiting to be carried away. 

You’ll be missed, my love.

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