14th & Ave. B – Fri. 3jan2014

Woke up to a snow covered city. It didn’t look like much from the 6th floor, but  when I got outside, there was lots of snow.  The sidewalks and streets were mostly cleared but crossing the streets took a bit of care. The temperature was in the mid-teens. I thought I’d see a movie but when I got there the movie had already started. By chance, I wandered pass a used bookstore on 4th Ave – The Alabaster Bookshop. That was a real flash back to the 70’s when I worked on 13th street and 4th Ave. was known as Bookman’s Row. By the 80’s, the bookstores were all gone – replaced by pricey antique shops. The clerk told me that the Alabaster had been there since 1996. It was the perfect picture of a used bookstore – slightly run down exterior with sale bins outside. Inside – cramped shelving, stacks of books everywhere and the lovely smell of old books. The clerk at the desk was young but his scruffy beard fit the image. I bought a couple of books and spent the rest of this very cold day reading The Last Day of the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan, an author whom I had never heard of.  It is a minutely observed day as seen through the eyes of Manny, the manager of a Red Lobster restaurant which is being closed for under performance. This is the final day. It’s four days before Christmas and there is a major snow storm swirling outside. Nothing much happens yet the book is deeply touching. How did the author do that?

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