How New York Felt

Yesterday, I had the morning to myself, so I walked around the Village taking digital pictures. All week the city had felt anxious and this day it felt subdued. There seemed to be fewer people on the street. The weather, once again, was beautiful. Clear with wispy clouds, crisp, and cool.
I had a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese and nova lox in a place run by immigrants of an ethnicity and language I could not place. I would guess Chechnyan or some other Caucusus people.
Dropping off the keys, I sat and had coffee with my friends who had lent me the use of the apartment. We talked about how strange the city felt today. New York always has a palpable feel. So many people pressing in on you with goals and instincts, thoughts and emotions. Somehow the brainwaves or pheromones are aggregated into some kind of gestalt.
Anticipating traffic and security delays at JFK, I thanked my hosts once again and carried my bags down the stairs, trundling over to 7th avenue to catch a cab. As I walked down the picturesque, ironwreathed streets of my youth, I heard singing, a woman’s voice, so loud I thought maybe a radio played in some open window overhead.
As I got closer to the avenue, I recognized the song, “We Are the World,” and then saw that it was a gospel choir in blue robes singing in front of St. Vincent’s hospital (where I was born). There were police barriers along the avenue, and traffic looked light. As I approached the corner, an ambulance started cranking its siren, drowning on the choir in short bursts as the small crowd at the corner passed each other as if in silence.