10th December 2001


Scenario: Ten college guys waiting at the 2nd Street Station.

Guy 1: (Extending a hunk of beef jerky to his friend.) Bite my big sausage.

Guy 2: No.

Guy 3: Bite it!

Guy 2: No, I’m not gonna.

Guy 4: C’mon, bite it!

Guy 5: Bite it! Bite it.

All: (General bite-it-related jeering).

Guy 2: No way.

Guy 1: C’mon, bite my big sausage.

Guy 2: No, man.

Guy 1: I’ll put in $20 if you bite my big sausage.

Guy3: Me too.

All: Me too.

Guy 1: That’s like a hundred bucks if you bite my big sausage.

Guy4: No way, he has to take two bites for a hundred bucks.

Guy 1: OK, two bites of my big sausage for a hundred bucks.

Guy 2: Cut it out.


The Hudson is a hip hotel, the kind of place where the bar floor is lit from below and the showers look like they could beam you up. After checking out, I turn to see a firefighter ascending the escalator in full fight-me-some-fire gear. He’s followed by another, and another… and so on. Suddenly, there are five men with oxygen tanks searching for smoke to a saucy Latin beat. No one seems to notice. I think, “Um, the building’s on fire.” I look at the guys in flame-retardant suits, I look at the counter people quacking pleasant counter banter. No one is curious, no one is ruffled, the speakers continue to coo “Oye Como Va.” An Asian woman admires the leopard-skin pillow on a lobby chair, her friend approves. To her right, a firefighter unfastens his pickaxe and peers into a suspect stairwell. I think, “Um, hey? Guys? Is the building on fire?” The firefighters’ search takes on less urgency, and a few guests begin to notice them. These people gather around the firemen with coffee table books on New York… and request autographs.

1:28 p.m.