Dragging the Calvary Cross Through Union Square

The Street Hustle


Wall Street has been on a volatile path this week, up 900 points, down 700 points and today up after going down 380 points to begin the session, the Dow finished up 400.  For the average investor, it is the beginning of a bear market that threatens to drag the country into a recession or possibly even a depression.  I’m sure there are people sitting around their televisions all over the country shaking their heads in disbelief.  I do it every day I wake up and hear the news that is being made by the floor traders just two and half miles south of my home.


The rest of New York seems numb to what is happening.  It isn’t so much out of fear but born of resignation.  The guys down on Wall Street got us into much of this disaster and they are the major tax base for the five boroughs.  In short, we know we are all going to have a piece of our lives for the fix.


Outside of the general energy of muted anxiety, resignation and accepted fear, you would never have guessed New York City was in any sort of dither today.  It was a sunny, glorious, if slightly humid, morning as I walked over to Tenth Avenue and 17th Street for an interview.  Maybe it was too hot for the middle of October, but it was also the kind of the day that could make you forget your problems and what was making the country sick. 


Winding my way through Union Square, with couples sitting leg over leg nuzzling and women sitting drinking coffee laughing at entertaining conversational tidbits, I wondered if this was the same Union Square Lou Reed wrote about in Run Run Run.  Where were the drug dealers and the Warhol crowd that used to bustle through everyday, I wondered.  And, at the same time, I was glad they weren’t there, leaving the park basking in normalcy.  It’s refreshing to be able to think about what you want to say and how to say it in a job interview while making your way to it.  Even if it’s an interview for a bar job, you never know when they might ask you what’s in a Ramos and how do you can you make it from scratch.  I was so into my own thoughts, I almost ran smack into a bespectacled man in a rust shirt and jeans dragging a 20 foot cross with a white wheel at its base through the park.  He gave small red circular stickers to everyone sitting in the wooden benches on the east side of the park, with a smile.  Whatever was written on the stickers started with an ‘R,’ I believe it said ‘repent’ although it could have rest for all I know.  “The shit you see in the town,” I thought, laughing to myself.


A few hours later, I found myself heading west again, this time on 18th Street.  As I crossed Broadway, two blocks up from Union Square, I passed three construction workers on a coffee break.


“Did you see the guy with the cross,” one asked.


“Yeah, he’s dragging the thing up and down Broadway telling people to repent and live purely as the apocalypse comes and giving them stickers,” the largest of the three men said.  His large belly was hanging out of his blue flannel shirt.  


“Wasn’t he in line with us at the Shake Shack,” the third man asked.


“Yeah.  I heard him tell the woman behind him that Madison Square Park was his Calvary,” the first man said.  The three men laughed.


“Weird shit, if you ask me,” the third man said as he sipped his coffee.


“It’s a sign of the times,” blue flannel shirt nodded.  “My minister keeps saying that America is the new Promised Land and New York City is the New Jerusalem.  In order for the Jesus to return, we have to be expelled from the New Jerusalem, just like the Romans did to the Jews back in the day.”


The other two men nodded sagely and I walked out of ear shot.


I’m not one to goof on the next guys’ belief system.  Right now, times are too hard and whatever it takes to get you through the day, allowing you to continue to contribute to our quickly faltering society should be good enough.  However, the Shake Shack as Calvary is something that worries me.  A good burger sure but it is owned by Danny Meyer.  I guess it means the Jews are going to be blamed for deicide all over again.  So much for the legal concept of a statue of limitations.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Every Friday, get 2 for 1 movie tickets when you use your Visa Signature card.

Recent Comments