Couple in Snow, 2001. Photo Liza Béar
A friend and former neighbor who got a lot of trees planted and bike racks put up in Little Italy but now lives in Barcelona is in town. When we first met in the early days of Connecticut Muffin she was working as a casting agent.
Today we meet for tea at the McNally Robinson bookstore on Prince and Mulberry facing the cathedral and churchyard which I once overlooked from my perch in the building now housing the Mulberry Street Public Library.
The entrance to the library is on the narrow alley, Jersey Street, a location for many fictitious crimes in student films and unfortunately a dumping ground for a real crime Upside Down Parrots, San Gennaro Festival, 2002
committed in the basement of the Puck building. It's also where the original Ferris wheel for the San Gennaro Festival would be parked until 2001.
The site of the bookstore was still a Chinese live chicken outlet in the early 80s. Occasionally at dawn a rooster crowed. A murder of as many as 50 crows would congregate on the slate roof and play games jumping over each other; from behind the computer screen, I watched them through the tall arched windows
My friend turns her head to watch a tall man in a raincoat with a shock of grey hair; she recognizes him as Tom Stoppard (she has just seen his Broadway play, "Rock and Roll"). He crosses Prince Street, enters the bookstore and prowls amongst the new book displays; leaves, walks a few steps down the street, turns back and reenters the store.