I'd get off at Wall Street even though Bowling Green was closer to the park service work boat. One reason was an addiction to the balls-to-wall energy on Wall Street. People moving with an expressed purpose, laser focused determination and guts full of cranky anxiety. You know, how most of us commute home. In 1985, working women wore little silk blossom ties with navy flannel suits and white leather running shoes, their heels sticking out of LL Bean canvas totes. I wonder where they all went.
The other reason was food. There was a Greek coffee stand run by George. There's always a guy named George in a Greek coffee stand. A regular coffee, three fast spoons of sugar, and too much cream. Like melted Hagen Daaz coffee ice cream... only sweeter.
If I was flush, there was a small diner in an office building on Broad Street where two, huge breasted Puerto Rican waitresses, in turtlenecks and rainbow clip-on suspenders, served the only grits south of 125th Street.
The soundtrack came from Madonna's, Like A Virgin on a beat up Radio Shack walkman. WNBC's, Don Imus thought she sounded like Minnie Mouse on helium. Young suits on park benches snorted cocaine with the Journal or NY Post on their lap and Ray Bans covering their eyes. But mostly I remember him and the smell. A ripe and rotting BO.
He was tucked half way into a bright blue sleeping bag at the end of a park bench. Long silver hair streaked in black fell onto a long grey beard that fell onto a signal yellow shirt. He looked up and pointed at me like he was gonna hit a fly ball my direction. But he didn't. Instead, he yelled, "This could happen to you!" Fellow pedestrians peel away as his eyes lock on me. Too lazy to detour, I approach the bench as he follows me with his pointing finger, extended for emphasis, by a long yellow nail with a thick black crescent of crud underneath.
"Yeah, you. Fucking, Stacy Keach! This could happen to you!"
I walk by looking straight ahead. "Fuck you, Stacy Keach! Fuck youuuuuu..." slowly ebbs away under Minnie Mouse's, Dress You Up. "Stacy Keach?" I wondered. I don't look like Stacy Keach. Don't get me wrong. I like Stacy Keach. He's amazing in 'The Traveling Executioner' and 'Doc.' 27 years later I still don't get Stacy Keach -- That it could happen to me? A day doesn't go by that I know it can and probably will.