bouncing on a train to another city, this time with unexpected company in the form of my friend and colleague from the museum of the other city I left..she came to spend the day with me and I rewarded her with dragging her somewhere else other than the concrete jungle. Cause as I've learned it's better to get blank stares and mouths dropping to the floor in person than being passed from phone extension to phone extension.
Was worth the trip in many ways. Catching up with someone special, seeing frozen in time buildings of all shapes and sizes ( note to self, go early next time to discreetly snap more photos). The best treat was the domed ceiling, peeling paint and extensive moldings of the old courthouse as we walked through the musty corridors of typical government offices. And the comedy begins:
Bored government official: "Yes?"
Me: " I need to find investigatory notes on a shooting from 1935."
Bored agent, snapping to life, eyes getting big as saucers: "Ha! 1935??? You gonna have to go to the Archives! 1935 you weren't even born yet!"
Me: " Uh, I was told this was the Archives."
Agent: "No, no go out this building to ghdhdfhshssh" ( as in could not make it out, was a cross between Fulton, Hustle and something else). "At the light, that's the archives."
Back on the sidewalk, turned to Susie " OK, the light is over there so maybe it's that way. What the hell did she say?"
Susie: " I think she said Hill, there's Hill over there." We go another way, stop to ask a cop who was actually friendly, hence a quizzical look on my face. New York City cops don't smile like that.
Go back the other direction, find the un-pronouncable street with a building correctly named Archives and begin all over again. More dumbfounded looks between a security guard and a voice over an office partition.
" No, 1935."
" You gotta go to the City Clerk."
Susie: " We were just there and they told us to come here."
Finally after double talk they produce a form that I have to fill out only to take back to the office that we just left. I ended it by saying I didn't care what it was, it could be one sheet of paper, all I knew was the city had something in their files and I just wanted to see it. They take the form, log it and then say for another leg of the journey.
" For Essex County prosecutions you have to go to blah blah blah"
So off we bounce to yet another courthouse and arrive in a very old school little office that has three arrows: Bail Bonds, Complaints and Information. Except there was no information desk, just a tablet for you to write your name and what you were there for. At least I made it farther than I had in the past but the conversations around me told me people had more important things to deal with. Namely, the poor person who had to listen to the File a Complaint line. The last thing Susie and I heard before me saying I would do this part of the adventure another day was:
" This is your ninth arrest."
"So what? That doesn't give him the right to take my car!"
Me to Susie: " Let's go, and thanks for coming with me. Now you know what I go through most of the time."
Susie: "No problem, I'm having fun!"
Get on the elevator, hit the wrong button and end up in the Prisoners Detention Bureau and Susie bursts out laughing.
Me: " We need to get out of here."
And back to the concrete jungle we go so she can at least see apart of that city.
The end. For Now.
Deconstructing the High Line - Next Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30pm, the editors of the book Deconstructing the High Line: Postindustrial Urbanism and the Rise of the Elevated Park will ex...
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