The other day I rode the subway for an hour and a half to the end of the line (the treat of going to the end of the line is that you might encounter the rarest of events, an empty car) at Woodlawn, in the Bronx, next to Woodlawn Cemetery, the place where Duke Ellington and Herman Melville are buried. I went without a friend who was interested in going, because she was working, and I put the karmic consequence on insta-pay: the guard stopped me at the gate and told me the cemetery was closed because of snow. This, weeks after the last snowfall, on a day so warm I didn’t need a coat. I prodded as he wearily stared at his phone as if wishing to be rescued from the situation by someone’s call. I asked if I could at least snap a few pics from the entrance, and he sighed and took his hat off, rubbed his head, told me in a deflated voice that I needed a permit to take pictures. So I thanked him and walked out along the fence where I found a bent bar, snuck in, and grabbed some unpermitted photos before cutting out (I hope you go and find Melville, K).
Fine in the Zen sense but feeling a bit defeated in the small, I hopped back on the train. I got off at another stop in the Bronx to boost my spirits at one of the massive temples of New York empire: Yankee Stadium. The bright gold lettering paired with the gilt flaking from the Yankee’s image; the nationally-beloved Babe Ruth bannered next to pictures of players whose greatness is defined by the size of their egos and salaries. It was still fun to be there, to walk out over the Harlem River, to grab a slice of pizza and stand on the street by the stadium, the only white guy in sight, just a Johnny from the Block.