I was an April Fool

Here’s what happened:

In the morning, while reading the internet mag called West Side Rag, I saw something startling. It seemed that the Landmark Commission had determined to landmark a building scaffold and sidewalk shed in my neighborhood.

There was a photo of the thing. Which was a standard eyesore.

But not to the Landmark Commission. They had decided it was a fine example of urban sculpture, and should be a permanent part of the 78th Street scene.

“Have they gone crazy?” I said. But maybe this scaffold was…something interesting.

In the afternoon I headed over to Zabar’s for edibles, and on the way home decided to detour one block to take a gander at this scaffolding. Hey, I’m always intrigued by new city architecture.

Now, I must remind everyone that New York City has so much building and restoration going on, it’s almost impossible to find a block not covered by scaffolding. Indeed, I could walk to every store where I shop, in the rain and, thanks to the lumpen loggias provided by the sidewalk shedding, never get wet. In a wacky way they remind me of Padua, where I once tottered for a mile from a restaurant back to my hotel in the rain and didn’t get wet. (I was tottering due to the limoncello with which the restaurant owner insisted on plying me post prandially.)

As I crossed over West End on 78th Street, I knew the address given in the article was wrong. If there is a building numbered 588 West 78th Street, it’s in the middle of the Hudson River. So I assumed a typo.

And there was indeed a scaffolding structure under the last building on 78th Street. It was exceptionally hideous. It slumped, it looked cracked, creaky and dangerous. I stood across the street and said to myself, “They’ve got to be kidding.”

And suddenly it occurred to me it was April 1st.

I went home smiling.

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