After a while, the layers merge // 25 July 2011

A rock n roll movie is being projected onto the side of a tenement block as, a few buildings down, a DJ sets up a rooftop soundsystem under a tent of fairy lights.

The air is thick – not just with clogging humidity and 100F heat, but with a gritty energy that gathers pace through the hot-as-a-dog’s-mouth day.

The day drips out of white noise. It begins as a pebble, gently rolling down the fuzzy, promising morning. The city’s awakening belongs to the Chinese, their bobbing heads and slow, circular lunges protective, mindful of their guardianship.

The pebble keeps tumbling. Its momentum builds, as, snow gathering, the heat burns off early mist, market stalls open and iced coffees trail from air-conditioned boltholes.  A 24-hour bar comforts the old man with the tequila bottle – he pours a sticky shot over his hollering truck driver mate as the gasping wagon turns the corner.

By the time lunchbreaks rear their opportunistic heads, crowds are swelling around food trucks and the snowball picks up pace. Bins everywhere fill with empty, clear plastic pots and matching lids, Russian dolls of a city take-away. As the end of the working day comes into sight, a cacophone of congratulatory, self-important car horns egg on the hours, cheering on the sunset.

As collared doors close in the 8 o’clock fug, an unstoppable energy has gripped the city. The snowball hurtles on as the lights change.

Nightfall brings with it wobbling strings of red tail lights, a soundtrack of too-generous sirens, the good time smell of booze and cigarettes. Beaten up ATMs and parties around hidden, grafitti’d water towers. Bottles empty. The snowball can’t get any bigger and the machines drone on.

The snow melts and the pebble sheds its day.

It slides through Chinese fingertips, as, in the park, the grey haired tai-chi starts again.


And, back to work – links to all of my Daily Mail stories from New York City will be added soon. Many stories about lipstick, shoes, dresses and Kate Middleton comin’ atcha.


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