Wednesday, January 2, 2013

At the Books

I've spent a lot of the holiday reading.   I finished Ron Padgett's biography of artist & writer Joe Brainard, Joe, and am now wending my way through the 1939 New York of the WPA Guide to New York City.   There's a multitude of delights to be had in this guide, but sadnesses too in reading about places and peoples that are long gone.   It's a pocket book to the past, & the sort of book you want to have at hand whenever you walk in the city.   I've tried the patience of companions by reading too many passages aloud. Such romance in the details (my italics):

"In the market section, comprising a world of its own, is the Syrian Quarter, established in the late 1880s at the foot of Washington Sttreet from Battery Place to Rector Street. A sprinkling of Turks, Armenians, Arabs, and Greeks also live here. Although the fez has given way to the snap-brim, and the narghile has been abandoned for cigarettes, the coffee houses and the tobacco and confectionary shops of the Levantines still remain."

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