green like brand new, green like I don't know better
summer in this city is a con and I fall for it every time
hi subscribers. This past weekend was a long holiday weekend in the US, which is why there wasn’t a discussion thread on Monday, and why I’m a little late sending out a newsletter this week. but to make up for it, this is an extra post for paying subscribers only. there’ll be a public post tomorrow, and maybe we’ll do a conversation pit later this week, or maybe it’ll just be back next week on Monday. if you enjoy this post or any of the other subscriber-only content on here, tell your friends, and loved ones, and anyone else, to subscribe. I hope all of you had a great weekend. xo
It’s Friday and it hasn’t gotten dark yet. It’s hot out but the rain is coming. The city is unlovable this year but the sky gets pink behind all the cast iron downtown and for one night I love it again. At the ends of the small wet streets, lights from cars and restaurants sparkle in the humidity and the whole place looks like a kid’s bedroom spangled with out-of-season Christmas lights and stick-on glow-in-the-dark stars. Nothing happens here that can make a summer night not feel like a summer night. I walk from Canal to Washington Square Park and run into three different people I know three different times. We stand a few steps up from the street corner, near the cobblestones, and tell our sad little stories in the shape of jokes. We laugh even if we’re just laughing to be kind. The sky gets brighter instead of darker, purple and orange, bleeding sentimentality as hard as it can. Somebody’s car goes by blaring music down Broadway, conscripting everybody else into a big-hearted insincere summer blockbuster about love. A block away the protests have snaked out of the park and down Sixth avenue. I’m late. I’m late for everything. Tonight it doesn’t feel like it matters but I would still be late even if it did.
I’ve lived here enough years that it’s embarrassing to say how many years it has been, so let’s just say it has been a lifetime. Everything was green when I got here, and everything is green now. The greens print out their sermons against the summer night even after all this time, as though they could still convince me that what comes next is worth waiting for, coiled there at the end of the block where windows and cars gather in the rustling darkness. Heavy trees point toward the avenues and the subway and the river, toward the corner where I once kissed someone and then went home, on a night that was as green and humid as this one, a night that promised the future was still coming, and that I would want to be here for it when it arrived.
College kids clog up the sidewalks near the park, carrying cardboard and sharpie signs. A big sweaty guy in a polo shirt cuts across the block in front of me. He would look like a frat guy except for the cardboard sign he’s holding that says “I DISSENT” on it in wobbly sharpie. He calls out to his friends on the other side of the crosswalk, and they swarm over to him, with their own little sincere poorly-made signs clearly all