She’s towering above her stand of handmade jewelry and watching shoppers from under a floppy hat, earrings dangling, gray hair pulled back.

“Where are you from?” the hat imitates an interest when I stop to look at the necklaces. I answer this and a few more courtesy questions while she nods with understanding and smiles with her mouth, but not with her eyes. The eyebrows rise just a micrometer when I mention I’m staying in Crown Heights.

“Many artists I know live in Brooklyn these days. There’s this new neighborhood, whatsitsname.”


“Yes.” Another mouth-only smile. “It used to be the Village back in my day.”

I picture her in a turtleneck and leggings and a beret, jaywalking across the 7th Avenue, about to hear this Bob Dylan fella everybody’s raving about. Or maybe she was more of a red-polka-dot-dress type, who fluttered out of her Upper West Side building and never forgot to tip the doorman. I wonder if there’s a black turtleneck or a polka dot dress somewhere in her closet, right next to this hat of hers, which gives me one last nod when I say goodbye and walk away from the New York that is no more.