The City #22

I got off the subway returning home a little bit ago after having dinner with a friend in Central Park (the trains were slow – took me an hour to get home). It had just stopped raining – the kind of quick downpour that leaves everything soaking wet, but the clouds part and the sun starts to shine as water drips from everything. A cool breeze, and the air smelled good.
As I was walking down the street a few brave souls resumed playing in the park, but instead of the voices of the kids playing catching my attention, I heard someone singing. I figured up ahead there was a car with someone sitting with the window opened listening to the radio, but I passed car after car and no radio playing. So then, I thought perhaps someone had a radio playing loudly in their apartment, window opened.
I started looking up at the brownstones, listening. The singer had a very nice voice – it sounded familiar, kind of a young, pop ballad kind of voice. It was nice. Then on the third floor of an old brownstone in the bay window I saw a girl with a microphone and another girl at an electric piano, barely noticeable. The voice I heard was hers – live.
I looked up and watched them through the window as I walked by. I decided to turn around and go back to listen a little more. I tried to be inconspicuous. I passed by, backtracked, but no where to hind. I just turned around again to continue home. At this point, looking up at the window, she saw me and smiled. I was caught. She was caught, and stopped singing for a New York minute. I don’t know whether she was caught off guard – not expecting anyone to see her or pay attention to her singing. Perhaps she was embarrassed. I don’t know.
The City is full of these little kind of things. So often they are lost in the noise and busyness of the City, but after a quieting rain a voice carries and I just have to pause and listen. I am fortunate when these little moments get through – kind of like stopping and smelling the flowers. I wonder what was going through her mind when she realized that someone heard her, someone was listening, someone discovered her and her friend practicing.
This neighborhood is a little too expensive at this point for struggling artists, but there are still some and the ones that have a little luck in their careers move here. I love this neighborhood and this City in all its dynamic craziness. Perhaps some day, this women will be famous and I will remember back to one rainy day when I heard a voice coming from a third floor walk-up in Brooklyn and think, “I saw her…”
A new Ikea just opened, yesterday. It is a 20 minute walk from my apartment. An Ikea 20 minutes away. Lord. Red Hook will never be the same. The Queen Mary docks, an Ikea opens, what’s next?