Tag Archives: queens boulevard

Grand Street, 5:02pm

I get off the train early enough to take my time and walk to my daughter’s school. It is glorious, almost balmy afternoon, and the thought of packing myself into the Q58 on such a glorious afternoon is blasphemy.

At Grand near Queens Boulevard, a deli spelling out all of its wares bilingually. They apparently sell, among other things, FORMULA POWER and 99¢ AND UP. Also, to avoid any confusion, a listing promising SNAKE has been hastily covered over to correct itself to SNACK.

20130913_165753Near 80th Street, a trio of people talk to a Buddhist monk arrayed in saffron robe. He nods and looks loving and beneficent. His hands are clasped behind his back in the manner of a teacher or scholar. I pass behind him and see those hands are clutching an iPhone. Right behind him a repair shop’s front window promises in huge letters WE DO EVERYTHING ON COMPUTERS.

Near 74th Street, a kid pedals down the main drag, running lights with abandon. A girl is squeezed onto the seat right behind him, her arms laid down on his shoulders like a queen being carried by her royal litter. The sun catches her hair, a bright red. Not ginger, but red. She smiles, not a care in the world at the moment.

Just beyond them, a kid in a mohawk and studded leather jacket, adorned with patches bearing the standard punk logos: Crass, Subhumans, Misfits. He could have stepped out of 1982. There’s something comforting in knowing this type of kid still exists, and that he will continue to exist until kingdom come.

This is why it is best, if you can help it, to avoid the bus at all costs.

Death Becomes Her

My daughter has become hung up on death, which is a common condition for people raised in Queens. It is not only the home to the Boulevard of Death, but it’s also the borough where you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone’s grave (just one more reason why you shouldn’t throw rocks around like that).

When she was still a tiny thing, I would often take her on strolls through a cemetery a block from our house. It was a quiet, shady, peaceful place in a neighborhood short on all those commodities. I’d push her around in her stroller up a steep hill, passing the graves off Civil War veterans, allegedly loving parents (no empirical evidence provided), and entreaties to the Great Hereafter in several dozen languages. At the cemetery’s highest point, you could see Manhattan flicker in the distance, a testament to all that mankind could accomplish, while we were surrounded by a reminder of where we all end up.

It could be this early exposure to headstones and such made her curious about The Grave. It could be she’s just inclined in a morbid direction; she already enjoys “scary” stuff and has a precociously completist fondness for Harry Potter. Or, perhaps she was marked sent scurrying in this direction by a sad scene we both witnessed nearly two years ago.

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