Williamsburg, New York, 10 PM

Two car horns honk loudly. One train arrives at Lorimer Station. Another one leaves Hewes Street station one minute later. It is 10 PM, but the warmth of the day still stays with me at the terrace where I sit and look down on the street. The sun is long gone, but the wind is gentle and very much unlike New York. On the street two young woman, tall and with slender legs and enormous heavy, golden earrings dance slowly to music from their iPods. An old woman carries her groceries home. A woman, middle aged, who wears a pink top and jeans shorts rushes into the laundry shop at the Corner of Union Avenue and Broadway. Her boyfriend, who waits inside of the silver car, turns the music louder. Some Latin American popstar sings for all of us. The glasses in the cupboard wave gently to the music. Then the motor howls and soon after they disappear into the night. A group of builders finishes their meal at the Mexican restaurant two doors further down the street. They look worn out, with their dusty boots and white helmets. Two of them yawn. They all turn their heads as simultaneously trained after a group of girls passing by. They softly swing their hips. The men watch in silent admiration. A tall man with broad shoulders and a tattoo of a dragon on his left calf comes by on his arm he carries the tiniest Chihuahua I have ever seen. The little dog wears a pink T-Shirt. Proud looks the man, as if he were a proud father, who accompanies his child to school. Up and down he walks, sometimes he stops and smiles looking down on his arm. A group of Hassidic men walks back home from the synagogue. Hastily and slightly bent forward they go, in their hands they carry their prayer books. One man walks alone, and stays behind the group of those nearly running, while humming and singing. He stops underneath a balcony. „Yankel“, he cries, hey Yankel, are you there?“ But maybe Yankel has fallen asleep or has his parents- in law over for dinner, whatever the case may be, he does not answer. But the man does not give up that easily. „Yankel, hey Yankel“ he shouts with urgency in his voice. But still no window is opened, no curtains are moved and everything remains silent from Yankels side. Finally, the man leaves but he sighs deeply, before he hurries to catch up with the other men, who disappeared around the corner a good while ago. Oh, Yankel I think, what a mess. But then, new voices appear under the terrace. The laundry shop closes and the whole family, who runs the business gathers on the street. Arguing and laughing, they pull down the shutters and in a Spanish, too quick for my ears, they run for the train, who will arrive at Lorimer station soon. Two women come out of the shadows to look for bottles in the bins. They carry already huge plastic bags full of them. Twenty cents, they get per bottle and their business is a tough one. The men from the Deli on the other side of the door lids a cigarette. On the balcony next to me a young boy, maybe five years old, rides on a rocking horse, faster and faster as if he would sit on a racing horse crossing the endless and wide prairie. But he is not and soon,oh so soon his mother comes and calls him back inside for the bedtime shema. Reluctantly, he follows her. And I myself get up from my chair to join E. and B. inside, who are arguing for hours what to prepare for Shabbat. Will you make a cake, asks B., for sure, say I and before I close the terrace door I ask E. and B. „if they would know a certain Yankel?“ „Yankel?“, they say, „No, never heard of him“ in a most unsuspicious way but both can not hide a smile in the wrinkles of their eyes.

One thought on “Williamsburg, New York, 10 PM

  1. This fascinating glimpse of life in Williamsburg highlights your skill of being in the moment, observing keenly, soaking up your surroundings, and recording all of it for us to enjoy. Marvelous.

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