One of the things I love about New York is the variety of languages you are exposed to in the course of your civic existence. I eavesdrop shamelessly on the conversations of my fellow straphangers, and sometimes when I’m stumped I break the rules of non-interaction and ask the person next to me what language they are speaking (most recent answers: Albanian and Armenian). Today on the N train to Times Square the woman across from me was reading a Korean book, and the woman next to me was reading a Hungarian magazine. On the 2 train from Times Square to Houston St. (I was off to see another Kurosawa movie, this time High and Low, not well known but the equal of the famous samurai movies if you ask me) I heard Spanish and Hebrew in my vicinity. In between, alas, I was the victim of one of the MTA’s impromptu stoppages—”Last stop on this train… there is a train experiencing mechanical difficulties at Chambers St. and there is no downtown service at this time…”—but I was able to give directions to Ground Zero to a family of clueless Midwestern tourists, who will now be able to report to their fellow Midwesterners that New Yorkers, contrary to rumor, are helpful and polite. And the train eventually did come and get me to Film Forum in time. So the universe showed its beneficent side despite initial appearances.

Addendum. See here for explanation of post title.


  1. As in Stray Dog, it took me some time to be sure that that was Mifune, with his modern haircut.

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