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.

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