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Showing posts from May, 2010

Stoop Sitters

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It’s one of those nights in New York when the world is a wind tunnel. It’s the coldest night of the year, again. And January has just begun.

Two people sit huddled on a stoop, parkas covering their body, fannies frozen against the cold cement. With their pointy hoods, they look like druids. They smoke in silence, sitting motionless night after night, hour after hour. They look homeless; all that’s missing is a tin cup.

These are my neighbors. They are not destitute. They live across the street in a brownstone, paying enough rent on their apartment to cover the mortgage on a McMansion in Dallas.

Nine p.m. I’m headed out the door, cursing myself when I’ve forgotten something and turn back up the stairs to retrieve it; taking out the trash; talking through my to-do list. They sit so still; I don’t notice them. For most of the year the view across the street is obstructed by trees.

It’s not until I stand on the sidewalk and close the gate behind me that I notice them. Camouflaged i…