On the Town   




"Madness at Midnight"

Graveyard shift redemption at "the Abbott"

by A Tortured Redemptionist

Redemption does not follow from a lack of resources. Not having the means to sate your temptations might prevent you from falling to them. That's "temporary" redemption, and there's no such thing. Redemption happens when you want it to happen, not because you can't afford the actions from which you seek redemption.

Can redemption arise in the wee hours at single-digit dollars an hour? In a monk-brown gold-trimmed jacket and pants? As a doorman in a religious residence gone secular - "the Abbott?" Condos and rentals. Some rentals, rent-controlled. Will spending clear-eyed time now in contemplation make up for years where contemplation was as scarce as realization? Or will, needs met, temptations again become actions, and actions failings?

Saturday, September 15, 2007 Ė Midnight

Summer, a missed season for a graveyard shift weekend doorman, is over. Who needs a summer, anyway? The bright activity season, idle Saturdays and SundaysÖI think Iíll do this, I think Iíll do that. No, so-'n-so called and says letís do something else. Does it seem Iím trying to make these hot wonderful missed times mundane? I might be. For a working summer blazes by, no ďsummerĒ for the graveyard doorman, and itís not written for sympathy. It just happened that way, the way it happened, and what the hell do ya do?

At least thereís New York, an all-time friend for all seasons, a place and a mindset and I canít begin to describe the attraction and appeal. The Big Ap has plenty of downsides, but you recognize and ignore them. The ignorable ones, anyway; sometimes you may not be lucky and end up like some unfortunate in the papers. Struck down by car, bullet, flying debris, or just dumb tragedy. Fire, falls, food poisoning. Food poisoning? I guess, maybe. Stupid misunderstandings, the gamut of depravity. New York, the crunch, the crush, can be morbid. You know it and donít care. The pulsing fingertip energy and rushing imaginatable possibilities, under and overground, imbues the streets and air, on each and every block. Itís unavoidable with time constraints to take different routes in my meanderings, but whenever time permits, thereís always some block new to wander. Wouldnít you care to know it? No matter when, no matter where, that pulse, that hum, itís always there.

If thereís a more desireable circumstance than time on your hands in Manhattan, go ahead and name it. Time with no money, so what? Get some pep in your step go-go baby marching the streets and avenues. Look, look, look itís there. Time and money in Manhattan must be an earthly heaven? The regular walker marks passing time with the changing streetscape. Buildings go from enclosed foundations to rising steel and concrete, to gradual facing and faÁade buildout, to occupancy. Others come down or get rejiggered, reconfigured. School lets out for the summer and begins anew, and weather complaints glide from hot to cold. Sometimes, and itís been so for many days this summerís end, the temperatures moderate and thereís clean cool air and you march Manhattan bursting forth your own gleeful energy.

Itís always something. Last weekend was the middle of Fashion Week. Walking by the Gramercy Hotel on a Saturday midnight revealed New York glamour in its muted haute glory. The streets surrounding the Gramercy Hotel, and Gramercy Park, are dark and tree-ish; subdued solicitude in attitude. Fashion Week Saturday midnight, thereís a rustle on the Gramercy blocks, at the very start of Lexington Avenue. A minor traffic jam of limos and car service sedans discharging and embarking tastefully and festively dressed beautiful ones into the soft, hotel marquee lights. Entering to-'n-fro, congregating outside the chic, richly inviting Rose Bar adjoining the hotel. Beautiful ones and twos; sleek, groomed, confidently oozing understated affluence and beyond. Pausing at the velvet rope for sure entrťe. Engulfed and enrapted in the potent nightlife heart of grown-up and coolly sophisticated Manhattan. Heady and enlivening, the snappy hotel doormen bustling, the doubled up limos and sedans. A mighty mute gray Mercedes Maybach, an impossibly perfect car awaiting a passenger who unquestionably purrs contently in its sumptuous and ostentatiously conspicuous confines. See me, I canít believe it either?

Through past the gone-by summer, the hording swarming hordes gamboling light-clothed on nighttime playsets. On the PATH, up the streets, across the avenues. Pulse pulse pulse pulse pulse, ever gushing energy: the pace whatever youíre seeing at a given moment. Couples embracing and match-facing in clutching, lovingly inebriated fervor. Swarmy groups prowling, pulsing, keenly absorbed in the tiny glow of individual cellphones and PDAs. Searching and lurching and well shod and old sneakered, gelled and swelled, searching, seeking. If you canít find it in Manhattan...it doesnít exist. It might but it ainít the same.

Youíre not too far off Third, and you hear the revelers around on Third before they come into sight through the intersection. Loud, happy, angry, searching, seeking. Hungry and howling. Thirsty but no one truly thirsts long in Manhattanís moonlight and murky early mornings.

Third Avenue never stops. Apart from Park Avenue, Third is the only North-South Manhattan Avenue carrying two-way traffic. More like ďslingshotting Ē traffic, fast as it goes. Three lanes northbound, two southbound, a constant exceed-the-limit speeding procession of vehicles, mostly cabs. A cab can pick up an aspiring Brooklyn party-boy or girl, dart onto the Manhattan or Williamsburg Bridge, hit Third Avenue, catch the light stagger, and deposit Mr. or Ms. Brooklyn in some Upper East Side singles joint in Ĺ-hour door-to-door. Gotta believe thatís a $25 jaunt and thatís no joke when you can do a 4-5 subway for $2. And plenty likely do, just as the PATH carries the fun and frolicky, the NYC subways surely party-people-rock too. Subway in, and if the saloons havenít broke your wallet, cab home. You know, like 5-6 am when youíre assured youíve used up the entire nightlife allotment.

Rain arrives, spaced droplets, not enough to chase anyone inside, but getting there. Rain, the doormanís street-clearing friend. Itís not fair, you donít begrudge anyone their Manhattan walks, mostly harmless fun-seeking frivs. Donít be a fuddy-dud wet blanket, Doorman, let the people play. Fine, okay. But until the rain truly chases them their way inside, may they play somewhere, beyond my door, besides? Some yells compels the doorman dance, off the station, go take a glance: All clear! All fine! Off on their way, the other way. Youíre watching, youíre watching, shooing through the midnight day.

More Posts by The Tortured Redemptionist:

Summer, 2007

May - June, 2007

April, 2007

Feb - March, 2007

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