★★★★★ Some group of chaperoned teens, many in pink shirts, had swarmed into the Gray's Papaya from the 72nd Street side, forcing the line to bend back on itself out the wrong door. The tissue-paper pineapples and cherries hanging below the ceiling tiles swung and twisted in the breeze. The crosswalk stripes were like a fluorescent-tube installation underfoot. The party balloons, herded down Amsterdam, tugged at their ribbons without getting rambunctious. In the midst of the two-year-old's nap, the doorbell announced the upstairs neighbor, armed with a brand-new plastic lightsaber. John Williams music thumped out of the piano to welcome him. It took a long time in the imperfectly dimmed bedroom to dispel the excitement. After the rest of the nap, after pizza and ice cream cake upstairs and down, the two-year-old found himself out on the plaza in possession of a stout water gun, his t-shirt soaked through. The older children blasted each other's face paint into smears and drips. The two-year-old assaulted the plantings for a while, then assumed a tactical stance behind a railing. Certain children directed fire toward a pigeon, before the last of the water ran out and the militia disbanded. Out on Amsterdam again, a ladybug flashed by, a fleck of opaque amber, and landed audibly on the tinted window of the cleaner's. The clear light found the soot on the architectural detailing and gave a mineral shine to unwashed upper windows. A service superstructure–water or elevator?–was more finely ornamented than the brown brick box of the apartment house below it. Sunset was colored-pencil work.
Monday, June 16th, 2014