Thursday, July 14, 2016
What gives a stretch of raised sidewalk a completely different sense of place? The higher strip of ground - public and private all at once - becomes a kind of elongated platform, or horizontal stoop. It's quiet enough for customers from Brenda's salon to sit on, catching a little sun, or a cigarette, or both, while waiting for their perms to set. Sometimes a group of kids, all ages, will play out there. The youngest ones are barely walking and the elders - girls of eight, or nine, or ten - play mother to the family. At this end of Fifth, if you're a child, it's quiet enough to squat, or even lie right down, and with a fat stick of chalk in hand, cover a whole lot of sidewalk in dreams of pink or blue, without disturbing any one who passes by.