Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Hidden City

M. sends in the following dream:

i was strolling thru NYC and found myself in what used to be the vacant lot next to tower records, the one that had the ever-shrinking flea market in it. it had become an art installation made out of pennies sculpted into little waves that you walked thru, as well as fountains made of soldered-together pennies. kids were skateboarding all around and thru it. suddenly i remembered that this was what was in the lot before it was the flea market.

as i continued to stroll around i realized that i could see older new york like a shadow under the current new york. it felt as though gradually my eyes were being opened and my consciousness was growing, but i knew it was dangerous. i could see layers of wheat-pasted posters behind current walls and fancy buildings -- like an x-ray of what had been there before. i knew i was not supposed to be seeing these faded, peeling old layers. and i knew bad people in suits, a kind of NSA for people who remembered the past, were going to find me and take me away because i could see these things.

i escaped to the upper west side (!) and found that there was a whole area way way west that hadn't been built up and gentrified, that consisted of old piers and plywood and rickety staircases. i tried to hide there, where the old flyers and posters from long-ago concerts and poetry readings and gallery shows were right out in the open, there for anyone to see. but i could sense the shadowy government people coming, behind me, and i raced up splintery old staircase after staircase to try to evade them.

i realized i'd been joined by a little kid with floppy hair and a skateboard and he said, "come on, i'll help you; let's go to my dad's!" and it turned out that some of the staircases led to this beautiful apartment hidden behind all the plywood, completely invisible from the outside, and it too was full of the old posters but they were new, not faded and ripping and layered. it was a truly fabulous apartment -- big and tasteful and playful and full of light, with a view of the hudson river, with purple and pink and blue flotaki rugs (?) (they were awesome in my dream, shut up) everywhere and high ceilings, but it somehow simultaneously retained the cozy feeling of an airstream trailer -- in part because the walls were all round, but also it just FELT like an airstream trailer somehow. and wonderful music was playing in every room, and i could finally catch my breath.

and then the kid's dad came out to make us a snack and it was mike d of the beastie boys. and i apologized for bringing the bad men to his home, but he said it was totally fine, he'd been expecting them. and just as there was a knock on the door, he cut a rope leading out a window and i realized we were in a ZEPPELIN, and we sailed silently out of the city, safe.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

St. MarksDonald's

October 13, 2013

Last night I dreamed that St. Mark's Books had closed and the McDonald's next door expanded into it. The McDonald's was huge and horrible. It had plans to keep on expanding and expanding. I stood there looking at it, those red and yellow signs, and felt resigned to it.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Gem Spa & 7-Eleven

August 12, 2013

Last night I dreamed I was walking down Second Avenue at St. Mark's. I looked up and saw a sign over Gem Spa announcing it was closed and "thank you for 98 years of business" (in reality, not quite 98). The place was already empty. I stood there in shock for a minute, then flew into a rage. I stormed into the 7-Eleven across the street and demanded of the cashier, "Are you the owner? Are you the fucking owner?" I screamed at him about how the closing of Gem Spa was his fault and told him, "I hope you fucking die. I hope you die a thousand deaths. I hope you get cancer!" I considered trashing the place, but didn't want to get arrested, so I walked out.

I picked up the Village Voice and the Gem Spa closing was on their cover. Inside was a 5-page story about it, citing 7-Eleven as the cause. I felt powerless to do anything.


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Manganaro's Fedora

Last night I dreamed that I was walking through the Village and saw that the Fedora restaurant had been reopened--by the Manganaro's ladies. How perfect! My two favorite vanished places reunited into one!

I went inside and looked at the menu. Seline, true to form, asked me, "Whaddaya want?" I told her I just wanted a snack and she suggested prosciutto on bread (she pronounced it "prosciutt," without the "o"), and said, "This prosciutt' won't rip," as if toughness were a virtue. I ordered it.

While waiting for my order I watched people dancing in the restaurant. In the back, three young women danced on a table. They were all nerdy, wearing interesting hats and dancing in a marching, military style. On the side of the room was an upright piano. A man was playing out a pounding rhythm while a group of svelte men of color danced all over it. The men were half naked, in thongs, and they ate each other's asses while they danced.

Then the real show was about to begin on a stage at the back of the restaurant. All the dancers went up, and I joined them. We got into a line and were going to tap, but I did not know how. I watched one dancer and caught on as best I could, counting out the steps. We each did our own dance, playing different characters, and I improvised playing a lonely, depressed woman waiting for the bus while she looks for a job.

I did alright, but I soon got bored with being onstage and my prosciutto snack was ready. I wanted to quit the show, but didn't want to abandon the other players. I couldn't decide what to do.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Vanished Corners

Last night I dreamed that I was standing on the corner of 12th & Ave A to take photos of the four corners for my blog, which I had been documenting several years ago when the stores were empty or in varying stages of construction. However, 12th Street west of Avenue A was no longer a street -- the buildings extended across 12th Street on Avenue A continuously, and in the same 5-6 story tenement style as the other buildings along the avenue.

I was confused, wondering which stores I had been photographing since there were no corners, and I chose two stores to photograph that would have been on the corners if there were corners. All of the stores were very colorful and bustling and it was a bright, sunny day. A store had opened where Table 12 is now, a dress shop called Vera with loud, colorful long flowing flowery dresses in the window. I thought it was all too fancy and expensive, but was pleased with the diversity and excited to show the contrast of the old and the new.

Then I looked up and saw that all the apartments above the stores were completely burned out and empty. No glass in the windows, decaying brick, abandoned. Discouraged, I walked east toward the river and then I was in Long Beach California (though it looked nothing like any beach in any part of California). I don't know how I knew it was Long Beach. There was a giant, empty, sandy beach on a bay with only one building in the distance, a huge red-brick and sandstone movie theater in the 1920s RKO style facing the beach at a jaunty angle. The architecture was beautiful and dramatic, but the bottom part of the building was all big glass windows. I was happy they had saved the original building despite the modern windows, and thought I would move to Long Beach because that building indicated to me that this was a town that cared about its heritage, unlike New York.

Then, in my dream, I woke up and thought about the dream and rushed to turn on the computer to write this email because I was so happy to have finally had a dream about New York. I fumbled around and couldn't get the computer on and got frustrated and could no longer remember the dream. Then I woke up for real.


The Pits

I had a dream that I was walking around the West Village in Manhattan, and on every block of beautiful old brownstones, there was at least one large pit in the ground where a highrise would soon be built. On Morton Street between 7th Avenue and Hudson (in the dream), I was shocked... and I looked towards the brownstones where I saw people standing, thinking they were the residents and I would send them looks of condolence, but they were all men (white men) wearing uniforms... protecting the development site. I was yelling in outrage.

--Randi Cecchine April 22, 2013

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Holland

Last night I dreamed there was another newsstand on the second floor above Gem Spa on the corner of 2nd and St. Mark's. It was called The Holland. Possibly The Holland Spa. It was crummy looking in all the right ways.

To get to it, you climbed a flight of stairs on the outside of the building. A crusty young man slept outside the door with his pit bull. Inside, it was a hidden treasure--the walls covered in dusty VHS movies for sale, comic books, and photographic memorabilia from the long life of the newsstand. I started taking pictures for the blog, worried that, now that I'd found this wonderful place, it would vanish.

The owner was a older Greek man. His name might have been Stavros. He was lively and loud and friendly in a brusque way. He served coffee and breakfast sandwiches. A few guys hung around, but otherwise the place was empty. It was early Sunday morning. The Greek complained to me about the unseasonal warmth, "It's too hot for December! It's almost Christmas and I'm sweating!" I said, "I know, it's crazy. I might have to turn my air conditioner on tonight." He laughed, "It's ridiculous, this heat!" Then he told me to stick around for the party.

Very soon, crowds appeared at the door. People were lining up along the tops of the awnings along 2nd Avenue to get into the Holland for their coffee and breakfast sandwiches and newspapers. They all loved Stavros, and their mutual love created a bouncy, jovial atmosphere. I was amazed. How had I walked passed this place a million times and never gone inside?