Dim sum, the kind tailor, and the theater around the corner
When I ripped a hole in the left pocket of my shorts a few months ago, I took them to a tailor at the far end of my street. Inside, a kind older woman told me she’d sew up the hole. When I returned later to pick up the pants, she told me I didn’t owe her anything for the work. I protested, but she said, “No, no. Pay next time.”
At the west end of my street, there’s a gay bar and a dim sum restaurant. We eat at the restaurant often, except for Tuesdays, when they’re closed, which we discovered on a Tuesday. We took our out-of-town friends there once and filled our table with fried vegetable dumplings, steaming fried rice, custard buns, sesame chicken with sticky rice, wontons in dark spicy sauce, roasted pork buns, and egg rolls. I went to bed with painful heartburn and concluded it was the best meal I’d had since moving to the city.
On that same corner, a local committee has staged barricades to keep cars out. Some drivers pull up to the barricades and move them, then drive on without putting them back. I respect those people—I wouldn’t have the guts to do that. Respect also to FedEx drivers, who reset the barricades every time they drive through.
I always wondered what the nondescript door on my street was—the one across from the tailor, the one-way exit door set against a tall building with concrete bricks. One day my wife and I went to the movie theater around the corner and later exited through the back. We came out on our sidewalk, solving the mystery of the nondescript door. Imagine that—having a movie theater whose exit leads you right out front of your apartment building. It’s heaven.
On the east end of my street, where it meets 7th avenue, a homeless man stands at the corner each day around noon and in the evenings around 7 pm. He asks each passer, “Can you help me out?” Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I handed him a twenty-dollar bill one day, and he said, “Hey-hey! All right! All right!”
Winter has stripped the color from the trees on my street. Their husks shade a row of townhouses with tall windows, and you can see inside from the sidewalk. I think the owners want it that way, showing off their high bookshelves and staircases lined with kids’ tennis shoes. On Thanksgiving, one of those townhouses opened its doors and drew in smiling guests with classical tunes playing on a grand piano.
I love my street because, in the fall, the leaves stick to the road longer than they do on the busier streets. I’m thankful for the kind woman who sewed my pants for free, and I promise I’ll go back soon so I can pay her. I love the dim sum restaurant, and I love the strangers who reset the barricades. I love the gay bar’s clever name and how I saw that celebrity coming out of it that one time. I love my street because I live here, and I feel lucky.
Update: I’ve since paid the tailor. She seemed confused when I handed her the cash but then recognized the shorts I was wearing. “Oh, the ripped pocket,” she said. “No, no. You pay next time!” And I said, “This is that next time!” She smiled and thanked me, and I’d say we’re friends now.