TWO NEW YORK STORIES FROM AFTER THE MARCH
Practicing calm on Lafayette Street
“Leave your cell phones in the hall, but bring your souls inside,” announces a sign posted at the entrance to Jivamukti, the downtown Manhattan yoga center I wandered into on Saturday in search of a Village bathroom not clogged with fellow anti-war demonstrators. Famous as the yoga studio of choice for Christie Turlington and other celebrities, Jivamukti is a cavernous, purple-painted space with a yoga boutique and a stunning granite waterfall wall in the entranceway. Entranced by the vibes, I signed up for a 5-session trial series at 50% off.
Debating War on the IRT
“Ladies, you ladies, you anti-war demonstrators are nothing but intellectual masturbators, unwilling to consider the nuclear cloud hanging over Manhattan three years from now!” The man shouting these words in the center of an uptown IRT subway car was 35-ish, neatly dressed in jeans and a Polo windbreaker, with a little flag pin in his lapel. “Do you consider what it is like to watch your mother being raped and sent into the desert to die as the Iraqis have? What makes you think they do not want to be liberated?”
This tirade was addressed to three middle-aged women with unbound breasts and graying hair who looked to be from Northern Connecticut or someplace close to Vermont and on their way back from the march to catch a train. The women muttered things about not liberating with bombs and freeing countries that had asked for it, like Somali and the Congo before getting off at 42nd Street. The provocateur continued to debate the war with several people in the subway car before getting off himself at 59th Street. “He didn’t seem to have a coherent point of view,” the man next to me muttered as I departed at 68th. “His arguments were pretty emotional, they didn’t make that much sense.”
These are the things I love about New York: the contrasts are extreme and everyone has an opinion they’re only too happy to share.