New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

016 : Tara Deal in The Meatpacking District, Manhattan
Born 1965 in Savannah, Georgia. Tara Deal currently works as a writer and editor. Why New York? Because it’s always changing. She digs the following Gotham bits: The Strand, jewelry for sale on the street, Casa Magazines on 8th Ave, the grid and the Empire State Building. She is, however, a bit miffed by the bad grammar of deli offerings: butter roll, ice coffee. For more info on Tara Deal you should send an email or visit www.taradeal.com.

image: Tara Deal

“The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.”

We return from vacation to the city glaring with snow drifts. The snow is not opaline and sweet, falling like the tiniest flakes of ice cream, as we expected, as we remembered. That’s what we told people: yes, the snow is beautiful in New York City. But now it’s deep and ugly, discolored. Packed up along the curb on Gansevoort Street, in the Meatpacking District. Sometimes, a bone or chicken wing appears.

Our car goes into the garage, darker than normal, in the brown afternoon in which all things look ordinary. We haul our luggage to the back, aiming for the door that leads to our building lobby. Turn the last corner, through the maze of salty cars and one last black truck, and crouching between it and the door, aiming for us, expecting our error, is a man with yellow sunglasses and two guns.

The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice. Or gray velvet winter sky, depending. That’s more like it. That is, we can’t remember. Our stories contradict each other, and we have to be put into separate rooms to sort it out. And write it down.

Remember the fear? Before the man slipped out of the garage as if he were a magician, leaving us stunned at the end of his trick.

No, what I remember is being grateful. For the neighborhood that began to come to life along the sidewalk, while we were still inside the garage, lying on the cement. Grateful for the people out there who might see something, then say something[1], though they never did. Even so, the city, it seemed, somehow saved us. The man ran away when it became clear, as streetlights came on and candles were lit in restaurants, that soon there would be no place to hide here.

And what about those weapons? The police still want to know the truth.

And why did one man have two, a piece for each of us, and why did he leave without shooting?

referenced works

  1. "If you see something, say something" is the official anti-terrorism slogan of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the city's buses and subways. You'll see it on posters and hear it over the loudspeaker as your train rumbles along underneath the East River or an avenue. However, it's unclear whether the ubiquitous sentence has actually prevented any acts of violence.

location information


017That's when I knew I wanted to live in New York: in the midst of those fragile bralets and bodysuits.— Ling Ma

016The guns, we tell the police later, were black like ice.— Tara Deal

015...my own talisman against the folly of my youth.— Andrea Jarrell

014Y'all in a band'r somethin'?— Abraham

013Perhaps it was the lanky teenager with the bright red book-bag that made me think I saw Adam.— Carrie Teicher

012I remember flattening myself against the streaky windows of the PATH train like an insect.— Erin Fisher

011I glanced up to see another shape hit the sand.— Ken H. Judy

010Vibrating almost imperceptibly in the breeze like a woody tuning fork.— Rob Giampietro

009Then the jazz stopped and the radio said the war had started in the Middle East. — Roland Kelts

008Shirtless Boris Yeltsin’s skin reddens as he reads a book.— Michael Maiello

007Port Authority was there with open, non-judging arms.— Khoi Vinh

006His almost-loss was my almost- nonexistence.— Matthew Rand

005On the cold hard floor of the orphanage, I sang, longing for the day that they would come and rescue me.— Jen Egan

004He was a lawyer, after all.— Kristin Gardner

003The parking lot gate was open, and we ran in with the skateboard.— Lorraine Martindale

002We arrived on completely Russian streets, with Russian signs and a familiar rudeness.— Kseniya Melnik

001...the hourly clicking of Oxfords and high heels across the parking lot.— Tam Nomgum


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