Yesterday, we found the fountain of youth. Oh, we have found it before and always in a different place because the fountain moves to where the real estate is affordable for the next generation. In New York City the fountain is gushing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Once upon a time it splashed on me in Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, then in Soho and then in TriBeCa. The Meatpacking District had a brief loan of the fountain as has Hell's Kitchen. But a trek over the Williamsburg Bridge dumped us smack into the middle of what felt like New Orleans. Dilapidated old shingled row houses with ten names on the buzzer system, auto repair yards, factories turning into edgy galleries, rock and heavy metal music clubs that used to be in Manhattan. Coffee bars to the max. Thrift shops galore. Bodegas, boutiques and bodies with piercings and tattoos that look great on them now. Boots and purple hair. I love it.
Sitting in an outdoor garden at a Thai restaurant on the densely populated-with- eateries- street, Bedford, we watched young mothers with strollers walk by, young women proud of their pregnant bellies tighly showing in spandex. Dogs, dogs, youth culture dogs for the City life. Small and quick on their hilarious low feet, dachshunds, pugs, and various forms of mutts that all resembled Jack Russell Terriers.
To make "my" husband ecstatic it takes used vinyl record stores that allow you to queue up the turntables and listen before you purchase, but not for the dollar table selections I liked. They're too scratched, but the nostalgia of the label is worth simply singing the songs in your head.
The elixir of youth permeates even the restaurants where the owners of a lovely cafe seemed too young to have earned a 24 for food from Zagat. We started for home after the Friday exodus to the country would've been over. Magic happened. The sun was setting behind the skyline of Manhattan and we were passing on the East River side at the East River Park in Williamsburg. A parking spot opened and we pulled in and jumped out as fast as we could to make the sky corals and grey flumes of clouds a reality for a picture. Sunset was happening fast.
A boy, a flawless looking young man carrying a skateboard, was also standing and watching in awe. He offered to take our picture. As the lights began to twinkle across the river in the high rises, our young man told us he'd just come back to Brooklyn that day. He had been living in Los Angeles. This sunset scene was what he'd longed to see again. He'd had a place on Hollywood and Vine and was trying to make his way up the fame ladder with a band. He was a drummer, but when they lead singer
broke up with him, he left the band. He loved New York for its direct cautions to artists. He questioned Hollywood's tendency to say "they'll call you back," but then never do. New Yorkers say "No thanks and goodbye. You know where you stand."
The beautiful young man introduced himself as Ethan and asked us if we had had dinner yet? We had, but we wished we could've absorbed more of Ethan's luminescence. We talked him into exploring Rome and Paris because he'd never been out of the country. But he loved Cities. He was thinking of Indonesia first. We said, " view America from familiar cultures first." He asked for a hug. We stood talking with Ethan, who was of Italian descent, in the dark as they locked the gates to East River Park. We walked toward our luxury car, our hard earned money in mainstream careers made me wistful. We both chose a safer path after our dreams in the arts paid off in passion, but not in true sustenance, as we moved into family mode.
Goodbye, Ethan, we both sighed. We had exchanged personal contact information. You brought us a drop of the new fountain of youth. We will savor it.