A hot afternoon walk
I went to work
today yesterday… I agreed to come in to check up on/ assist my replacement (the new scheduler for our school). Around five I left; there were two hours until I needed to be home. And I was on foot. So I went for a hot July walk.
I started south, and then turned along the cabdrivers’ shortcut. Down the big hill, there was a hydrant wide open, huge one with a powerful spray, the flow running into the huge intersection. There was a crowd – not five, not fifty, but over one hundred watching and cheering as cars pulled into the strong spray – at least one intentionally for a high-pressure carwash.
The sun baked the asphalt, so I crossed to to the other side, with a little protection from the sun. I usually don’t go down the snake hill on the far side. I looked for the mango guy – but I wasn’t stopping for fruit. And I realized the school next to me was Ruben Brosbe’s. I looked, but he wasn’t there. I hadn’t realized that our schools are less than fifteen minutes walk apart.
An aside on Ruben, and it deserves a full post, but he is a teacher. Remember that. He’s being used by the editors of the Post and the News, by the Ivy Leaguers at Gotham Schools and in TfA. He’s humiliating himself, playing for approval from people who hold him in contempt. Feel sorry for him, but stop yelling at him. And now, back to the walk
The stores and sidewalks were throbbing with heat and bodies, vendors, commuters, shoppers. But I shuffled past, and crossed the bridge on the shady side.
Where to? My mind tried to place an ice cream store… and as this is the fringe of an upscale place, maybe, but, no… And then I saw the steps, and walked up the long flights of W215 St, carried up by the light breeze, the play of sun and shadow, and the earthy smell of the plantings on the side of the stairs.
I wandered empty streets for a few moments – so different from the regular places loaded with people out in the heat. I stopped at a stump and retied my shoes. The sweat was burning my eyes.
I made my way to the sunnier side of the bridge. “Stand clear of draw when gong sounds.” How many people walk by that sign, and never read it? The crossing bar was “Z” shaped, and when deployed the main part would block traffic, and the tail end of the Z would block pedestrians. I entered the walk way, and half way down stepped to the middle of the path, and waved frantically at the bicyclist approaching me. I recognized the orange, the posture. My friend McRib was riding home from the Bronx to New Jersey. He was even more surprised. We chatted for five minutes.
A few blocks later, in need of water, instead an icy salesman appeared. He finished selling to a mom and kid, and I began to order, and he closed up! “Walk this way” and I followed as he relocated a hundred yards down, in front of a project where a summer play program was about to let out. By the time he was done serving me, there was a line, and kids yelling. Choices were coco, cherry, rainbow, and tamarindo. I like the slightly less sweet, slightly stronger flavor, and the slightly off-putting color.
Stopped in the fancy fruit store for some food for the evening, and for ten minutes of A/C and a little rest. Even after the icy the sweat was flowing.
And then back up the hill. I chose the detour with steps, it’s not really a big flight, and then I stopped by the first tower with the lawn, where the muskrat has been hanging out. But she wasn’t there.
At the Concourse I discovered a countdown Walk/Don’t Walk sign, which wasn’t there two days ago. Neat. I sprinted to make it across both main roadways, but got beeped on the service road. I kept walking. They beeped again. What? They needed directions to DeWitt Clinton. OK, three minutes ago there were middle schoolers and kids pouring in – a fair for the high school selection process. At least these guys managed to make it. How many parents don’t? Can’t? Why should the Bronx be plagued with 115 high schools, most mediocre/lousy? The poor kids aren’t even guaranteed a seat a reasonable distance from their home. They couldn’t do this in Manhattan or Queens, not like this, not badly.
The Parkway was cooler, with people on all the benches. The trees provided some protection from the sun, which was moving behind me. I got home, climbed the six flights, rinsed off, and was the first one down for the annoying meeting.