New York Tales from Curious Borough Dwellers

018 : Anne Germanacos On Broadway between 70th and 71st, Manhattan
Born 1958 in San Francisco. Anne Germanacos currently works as a writer. Why New York? To provide contrast with semi-monastic life on an Aegean island. She digs the following Gotham bits: Its rhythm and the ease of letting it catch you; the ubiquitous human gaze; my son’s apartment; Fairway; and riding the subway. She is, however, a bit miffed by the unfriendly people at the front desk of a certain hotel on the UWS; being sick in the winter and having to face crowds as well as the wind; overdosing on Tastee-D-Lite; having to slide your subway card again (and again); and inferior greens. For more info on Anne Germanacos you should send an email.

image: R. Schwartz

“The naked man’s hands only mimicked a fondling.”

My last night in New York for at least six months, I walked through Broadway’s balmy June air, keeping pace with the bodies. I couldn’t avoid the realization that it was time my son grew up. I pictured myself telling him: You’re the age I was when I gave birth to you.

Two nights before, we’d been together on the same street, Broadway between 70th and 71st, walking with the crowds. Throngs of people had moved up the street past the big stores, flowing out in a neat curve where a naked man was performing some kind of sacrament. People were fastidious in avoiding him. Like everyone else, we speeded up but not without looking his way.

The first glance revealed a naked man touching himself. Looking again, sideways, I saw that the naked man’s hands only mimicked a fondling. His penis was uncircumcised, not quite flaccid. I tried not to look but did, though I didn’t want my son to notice my fascination, less for the flesh itself than for its treatment.

We’d been returning from a Broadway show. All day he’d been rude and aggressive. When we reached his apartment, he insisted that I should leave him alone. So I did, for the next two days.

Arriving there now in order to say goodbye, I listened while he sang elaborate ascending scales. I knocked as he hit high F.

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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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