Hat Tip

by

01/02/2001

Washington St. & gansevoort st., ny, ny 10014

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

I am–and I do not necessarily advise this–walking through the meatpacking district in a miniskirt. Pastis and co. not- withstanding, this area is one of my favorites in the city—- one of the only remaining places where, when the clubsters hail their last cab, the trucks still rumble up and haul in their real, tangible, old-fashioned, actual blood-and-guts commerce. At the beginning of the day, it’s not futures, not influence, not equity, that changes hands here: it’s actual pieces of meat.

Of course, it’s also not like I have to spell out the other “meat” It’s about 3PM on Washington Street. Everyone’s out sweeping up, hosing down. Empty meat hooks are swinging and glinting in the hot haze. And there I am in my first open- toed shoes of the season, trying to sidestep Chicken-gut Creek while at the same time focusing on a fixed point in the distance–my way of feigning deafness to “Hey baby!” “Nice legs!” “[Unprintable!]” and an assortment of virtuoso whistles.

Then I make what I believe to be a fatal error: eye contact. With a man about twenty paces ahead of me, right along my path. Oh, dear. Stay the course, I say to myself. And pre- pare for the worst. Ten paces. His apron is smeared with blood. He’s grinning now.

Five paces. He reaches out a hand. Oh no.

His hand keeps going up, until it reaches his head.

Two paces. The man steps back, doffs his cap, and bows deeply.

“Good afternoon,” he says, with all the charm of a dandy in seersucker and a bowler.

“Good afternoon,” I say.

That, gentlemen, is how it’s done.

I certainly understand the welcome “back-to-normal” factor ascribed to the heralded return, post-post-9/11, of Our Surly City. But still. Go ahead and do ecstasy at Filter. I’ll be doing the foxtrot on Gansevoort.

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