The Uni arrived in New York tonight. It is now staged a block away from the New Amsterdam Market where it will be put into service for the first time tomorrow on Sep. 11 from 11AM-4PM.
On the ride downtown tonight, at the third and final NYPD checkpoint, I hoisted the roll-up door on the Penske to reveal again the columns of shelves, books, bright yellow cones, and a Yoko Ono Wish Tree. One of the officers, flashlight held at his head said, “Sarge, come take a look at this one.”
They were silent as I answered the very same questions I’ve been answering for over a year, “what is it? a kind of portable reading room, books and learning things, for kids but yeah for adults too. It can go outside.” I was really tired at this point and rambling.
More silence and poking at the yellow benches. I waited. The sky was illuminated with two familiar beams of light, so close now, they merged in the clouds above.
“You’re doing this book room tomorrow morning?” His light hit on a open box of children’s picture books. “And kids can come?”
“Yes, anyone in the neighborhood really, if they want.”
“Well, that’s decent. Good luck. Carry on. LET HIM THROUGH!”
Driving the last few blocks on completely deserted streets where I once lived, I felt something welling up in me, and not just exhaustion.
We don’t say it so much, but I think, to Leslie and me, the Uni is a project ten years in the making, as of tomorrow morning.
However you choose to spend tomorrow, for whatever reason and in whatever memory, make it meaningful. That’s about the best anyone can do with the days we have.