Photograph by Emily Fishman
July 30th, 2019
I still love you. Do you still love me? It feels like it, though some days I have my doubts. Maybe it’s just too hot today. I can’t think straight.
The thing is, you’re changing so quickly, though to be fair, I guess I'm changing as well.
I’ll be real. The loss of Recycle-a-Bicycle hurts, though not nearly as much as the loss of Jimi’s. I wonder how many times I had lunch there: one hundred, one hundred and fifty, two hundred?
Let’s see: you and I, Dumbo, first met in September of 2015, by way of 68 Jay Street. Let’s round up and say we’ve been going steady for four years now, almost two hundred and eight weeks; so, assuming that I had lunch at Jimi’s even once a week (though, I was, of course, out of town for several weeks), that’s two hundred right there.
And we both know, Dumbo, there were plenty of weeks when I had lunch at Jimi’s at least two or three times per week. And we both know, Dumbo, that there was at least one week in there when I had lunch at Jimi’s all five days. It was just so easy, and affordable, and the food was so completely adequate ––– the essentials, salmon, rice, mashed potatoes. And then when Janet came to town and started serving up Thai Food . . . those were special days, special memories, Dumbo, moments I’ll never ever forget.
Dumbo, do you remember when 85 Jay Street was a parking lot? You must. I know it feels like forever ago, but it really wasn’t. It’s funny, as I’m writing to you, Dumbo, I’m listening to Astrud Gilberto’s “Beginnings” (1969), which makes sense. We’ve known each other for almost four years now, but it really feels like the beginning, as I’m just now finding my voice, understanding how you work, who you are, and how and what we mean to each other, Dumbo and Curlew, Curlew and Dumbo.
The song carries over eight minutes, and early on Astrud sings, in a voice that’s oh so lovely and heartfelt, “Time passes much too quickly, when we’re together laughing.” And I feel that way about you, Dumbo, I do. And I can’t help but wonder, how have four years already passed for us? Then as the song reaches its end, Gilberto repeats and repeats, “Only the beginning . . . only the beginning . . . only the beginning.”
But as I was saying, Dumbo, 85 Jay Street, do you remember when it was just a parking lot? It wasn’t that long ago, May or June of 2018 when they first broke the ground’s foundation over there. Back then you could just walk on either side of the sidewalk of Jay Street, between Front and York; whichever way you like! Well, now, it’s different: no Jimi’s, no two sides of the sidewalk on Jay, no bike repairs just around the corner (Recycle-a-bicycle, I will catch up with you in Fort Greene).
Yet, still, it’s hard not to enjoy imagining what will happen over the next four years for us, Dumbo. Every day, 85 Jay Street stretches closer and closer toward the sky. And last Friday, I had lunch at Atrium Dumbo, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
Which is all to say, when it’s all said and done, 85 Jay Street will open, and will be welcomed to Dumbo, despite everything, and somehow; you and I, Dumbo, will still be together. Dumbo and Curlew, Curlew and Dumbo, what will they write about us then?