There’s no place like home!
A few weeks ago I did something I rarely, if ever, do: drop $60.00 for a pair of shoes. The above shoes. When I saw them at the Mini minimarket I was smitten. How often does one find red FLOCKED flats, much less red flocked flats THAT SMELL LIKE FRUIT. I shit you not, they do. After wearing them my feet smell like The Copa Cabana. Not that I’m into sniffing feet (my own or anyone else’s), mind you.
Which brings me to a recent dialogue I had with one of my readers, “jukeboxgraduate”. She writes:
Ah, Miss Heather. Clearly you do not live close enough to Franklin St. to remember the hell that was the YEAR AND A HALF of its destruction, rebuild, destruction, rebuild, etc. I remember jackhammers outside my window – repeatedly – at 6am. I remember flaming man holes (no, really, actual man holes in the street – me calling 911 because everyone outside just seemed to be standing there staring at it).
To wit I emailed her back:
…I chuckled at your memories of exploding man holes and the utter hell that was Franklin Street. Remember when they had a rash of muggings there a year or two ago? I do. It was around that time my husband and I had the pleasure of walking by some young toughs smoking crack around a discarded stove… (Ah, those were the days!)
Damn, I miss those flaming man holes. Nowadays if I want to experience that kind of thing I have to consume large amounts of tofu— but somehow it just isn’t the same. Yes indeedy, to quote Archie and Edith Bunker, those were the days. The days when Franklin Street was a special place teeming with very special people. I’m going to click together my tooty fruity red ruby slippers, go back in time and tell you about one such special person…
It was a sultry summer night in Greenpoint. On a lark, my buddy Rachael and I went to the G Lounge. (This bar is long gone, Van Gogh’s Radio has since taken its place. —Ed. Note) After we arrived we noticed our friend Jez was there, so we joined her. Next to her was this tall lanky dude. The three of us struck up a conversation with him.
Or should I say two of us conversed with him? For reasons I do not recall this guy pissed Jez off and the two commenced having a shouting match. Knowing that Jez can be a bit of a hot head, Rachael and I laughed it off. We made no effort whatsoever to suppress our amusement at her scathing bon mots. This act of insouciance on our part was the final straw; she stomped out of the bar, leaving us alone with our new friend. We explained to Michael that he should not to take anything Jez said personally. She’s a very sweet— but very opinionated gal— who clearly needed to blow off some steam.
After making peace, Mike left the bar. Rachael and I, no longer having a source of entertainment, left as well. We bumped into Mike a few doors down. He was with two young Polish toughs drinking Johnny Walker Red straight out of the bottle. Demonstrating true Greenpoint hospitality, they offered us a swig. Rachael accepted, I declined.
Having broken bread, Mike started to open up. A LOT. He wanted to know if Rachael was married. Rachael answered to the affirmative. He was visibly crushed by this and we took pity on him. Enough so to acquiesce to a strange, but other harmless request: to suck one of our big toes. Yup, Mr. Mike was a foot man.
Although this is not my thing, my “inner fucker” was dying to know if this dude would actually do it. And by “it” I mean stick my dirty, unwashed toe in his mouth. Right there on the street. My more sensible side figured his mouth was probably pretty clean after swigging that high-octane hooch. I mean, think about it: I know where my foot has been, but god only knows where his mouth has been. Oh wait, I DO KNOW: feasting upon the finely fettled and festering feet of New York Shitty. *shudder*
Long story made short, he did it. The Polish dudes thought this was the funniest fucking thing they had ever seen (because it is FUCKING FUNNY). As time went on Rachael and I came to learn how truly weird Mike was. Not only was he into feet, but he liked to wear women’s pantyhose (preferably control top) and was entranced by Landmark Forum. The lattermost was what really turned me off. Those people give me the fucking creeps.
Thankfully, Greenpoint gentrification eventually forced Mike to move elsewhere. “Where to?”, you ask?
Where else: QUEENS.