Like not Love
"Is somebody in there?"
"He's very busy in there." Casually, as if he's talking about a janitor cleaning the toilet with extra care, a plain clothed white cop says. "Yeah, he hasn't quite gotten the needle out of his arm yet."
Laughs exchange themselves with no question of a receipt.
The Harlem Metro North station is to fiends what Central Park is to pigeons.
As I rode here in an Uber from my room in the Heights, taking selfies trying to catch the natural light, passing billboards advertising "A Bronx Tale", and listening to my driver uselessly scream on school children running across the street without looking, my eyes were struck blind by the sun rays that bounced off the glass windows of brand new buildings ... Funny... They all seem to be intentionally placed on a corner, closest to a train line. Gentrification is killing the culture of black and brown communities but is it wrong to admire some of these structures? My favorite was the one on the corner of Lenox and 110th... I wondered if they even had walls in those condos. The glass went from the ground up. Christmas trees and long white drapes spread wide. What would it be to wake up across from Central Park every morning and hop right on the 2-3 to get where I need to be? On the other side of the block, there is a much, much older building. Not fancy. Not luxurious. But I am quite sure the rent the tenants pay is higher than it should be, simply because of the occupancy of their new neighbors in the tower of glass.
Glass destroyed the Harlem that brought my grandmother here from the South. From the pipes to the needles. Her vivid stories make it easy to imagine fifty years ago when people got off the train here, to find themselves while getting lost in a sea of Sunday's finest garments, no matter what day it was when they arrived. You took pride in going to 125th. Gentlemen in custom hats and women in fine silk gloves.
If you go there today, you'll be passing a woman with one leg, who feels no pain as she jumps into the brisk blue air to land and lay on the ground so that she can elevate the one leg she still has on the seat of her wheel chair. It was picture worthy for the white tourist couple that walked in front of me.
If you come here today, you'll see undercover officers laughing at heroin addicts who struggle to feed a hunger that won't ever be quelled.
Walk a little further and you'll find Popeyes where there once was a black-owned business. H&M and Burlington Coat Factory and Whole Foods. I guess you can't have the green glass buildings without the green foundation of these corporations. But why couldn't we have them without the glass that destroyed the man in the bathroom who came out leaning and slumped over the undercover officer's forearm. The grizzly cop barely wanted to touch him but there were too many of us watching for him to drag him like some dog.