Monday, July 30, 2007

It has been an interesting weekend. On Friday evening we attended a screening of our friend Edin Velez's film A Certain Foolish Consistency at the Scanners: New York Video Festival at Lincoln Center. On Saturday night we returned to the festival to see Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm also at Scanners. We've posted reviews on our myspace blog:

On Saturday, we attended the Passion and Power after party and saw quite a few friends, including some with whom we'd lost touch in the past couple of years. We also made some interesting new ones. It was a delightful evening, but it ended on a much darker note.

It was after 2:00 am when we got back to the apartment we use when we're spending the night in New York City. When we arrived, we discovered that a pipe in the bathroom ceiling was leaking. We tried knocked on the door of the apartment upstairs, but the occupants were away. Then we called the super; he wasn't pleased to get a call at that time of night and said he couldn't do anything about it until Monday, so we placed a large bowl under the leak, which was beginning to subside (it had stopped completely by the next morning). It was about 3:15 when we got into bed.

It was very hot in the apartment, so we left the windows open. Just as we were drifting off to sleep, we heard a series of gunshots right below our window. We looked out to see someone apparently fleeing the scene. We called the police, who came quite promptly and in large numbers. We later learned they closed the block. We went downstairs and told one of the officers what we had seen. We got back to bed after 4:00.

The next morning we went out to survey the damage. Bullets had hit three cars, shattering glass in two and going through the windshield and flattening a tire in a third. We surmised that there had been some kind of shoot-out, since it appeared that bullets had flown in two different directions. We don't know if anyone was hit during the exchange.

There's a strange kind of clarity that hits you in extreme moments like these, and that's something worth remembering, since it relates directly to Tantric practice; every experience we have in life is an opportunity to discover something. Still, this isn't the kind of experience we're interested in replicating.

We can only guess that the shooting was gang or drug related; the neighborhood has had its ups and downs, but whatever the case, violence is sad and senseless. At best, innocent, poor people had their property damaged. At worst someone was hurt or killed. One of us could easily have been hit by a stray bullet, as could any number of other people in the neighborhood. As midtown Manhattan becomes more and more of a shopping mall, the less affluent parts of the city seem to be sliding backwards, and the new New York seems to be embodying the worst of both worlds -- the crime and violence of the old days are creeping back into the sanitized version of the City.

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