Babylon On The Hudson

I love Manhattan on nights like this. The tops of buildings disappear into the mist. The streets are a shiny jet black. And everywhere is the sound of tires on wet pavement. It is ‘The Great Gatsby’ come alive.

I had a good smile on my walk home from work tonight. A young tourist was stepping out of a New York souvenir shop. He was wearing dark blue John Lenno-type sunglasses despite the sun having set at least three hours prior. He reminded of myself maybe fifteen years ago, doing my best to appear as though I belonged here in thus Babylon on the Hudson.

Everyone who’s anyone wears sunglasses all the time, right? Of course, I haven’t completely shed my aspiration to coolness: my personal sunglasses rule is that as long as a) it isn’t dark and b) isn’t precipitating, one is entitled to the lens-wrapped anonymity.

Worse, perhaps, I have some five pair: two pair of black wraparounds, Ray Ban Aviators (gold), Randolph Aviators (silver, government issue), and a cheap pair for running. I like my anonymity, and the double-takes it demands: ‘Should I recognize him?’ they wonder as they pass on the sidewalk.

I stopped off at Go Sushi for takeout, picked up two Sapporo and powdered Gatorade, came home and settled in with the 1945 noir classic ‘Detour,’ starring Tom Neal and Ann Savage. A bowl of sesame noodles, a fistfull of California Rolls and ome green tea ice cream later, I was about done.

I have an 8:30 dentist appointment in the morning, my dad’s coming to visit on Saturday, and I have a 10k on Sunday. So I may as well catch up on some rest, get on with the dreamin’, and call it a day. It was a good day, despite the mist-obscured sky. Or maybe because of it. Maybe a guy doesn’t have to wear sunglasses all the time. Maybe a guy doesn’t have to be a celebrity, or, anonymous. Maybe F. Scott would agree.

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