Wednesday, December 20, 2006

51st Street Pastoral

Smoking a cigarette outside in the cold, sunny winter air, I hear the pure clean sound of a flute, and oh, there he is, middle aged black man standing on the sidewalk, on 51st Street. Behind him, parked on the street in front of the Time-Life Building, sits a Tremblay bus, one of those big blue and white charter buses, and I see a stream of tourists enter, climbing up the stairs into its open door.

The musician is dressed neatly and simply, blue wool pea coat, dark green stocking cap, navy blue dress pants, black tie shoes, and he is playing a silver flute that flashes in the midtown sunlight, he's playing pure clean notes, not virtuoso, no, but soulful and sweet, played some pastoral music, and then, sweet and stately, Ravel's "Bolero." I walk up to him, put a buck in the big round red plastic Folger's container he uses as a tip jar, look in his eyes, and say "oh that's lovely," and he nods a thank you back to me.


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