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Walking Further on My Street

Last year I wrote about my neighborhood and this sign at 254 West 12th.


Homemade street sign,Random Acts of Kindness

It says,

“If we all do one random act of kindness daily

we might just turn things around.”

Martin Kornfeld.


A few weeks ago I noticed a new addition;


handmade Street sign,Random acts of kindness, love not hate

The new one says,

"You don't have to love just don't hate."


I think that's setting the bar too low.

This week I noticed another sign.


Homemade sign, Whatever your color

It says,

"Whatever your color you have certain feelings about the others.

Recognize them and get rid of them."


Village people let you know where they stand.


Next, we come to the Village Den, our neighborhood coffee shop for years before it was remade into a vegan/vegetarian cafe. Eating lunch in midtown years ago I recognized the waitress and said to her, "I remember you from the Village Den! My husband had coffee there every day with our son before nursery school." She gave me a long look and said, "I remember your husband--toasted English, butter on the side." Don't you love New York?

Next, in the triangle made by the intersection of West 12th Street, Greenwich Avenue, and Seventh Avenue we see...


triangle sculpture in park,the AIDS memorial, Greenwich Village

the AIDS memorial, Greenwich Village

The Aids Memorial, made of intersecting steel triangles. The Triangle is a fitting motif. In the Nazi concentration camps, gay people were forced to wear pink triangles, just like the yellow stars forced on Jewish people.

Across the street is the late lamented St. Vincents Hospital, 1845-2010. In 1984 St. Vincent's opened the first and largest AIDS ward on the east coast and became the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic.


Triangles in the sky,the AIDS memorial, Greenwich Village

The triangles make lovely shadows on the ground, where Jenny Holser has organized Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass into carving on the pavement.


carved writing in the floor, Walt Whitman inscription

this section says,


"Failing

to fetch me at first

keep encouraged,

missing me one

place search

another, I stop

somewhere

waiting

for you"


In 1911 the survivors of the Titanic were brought here. And in 1912, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were brought here. It's a historic place of healing and solace.

Contrary to Greenwich Village rumor, Edna St Vincent Millay was not born here; her uncle, very ill, recovered here and her parents gave her the name in gratitude.



Now the hospital is gone, replaced by yet another luxury high-rise and we have a beautiful park.


Park in Greenwich Village with fountain

The park is lovely, but I miss St. Vincent's. My most vivid memory of September 11 is walking past and seeing a row of gurneys covered in clean white sheets, standing by the open doors, waiting to help.

The hospital is gone, the victim of debt and mismanagement, but I hope our spirit of reaching out and helping each other is still strong.

Continue to stay safe, wash your hands, and wear your mask.




August 20, 2020

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