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A Hopper Moment

Posted on 2011.05.15 at 14:59
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: At the Hop - Danny & the Juniors
This happened last Sunday, the same day as my trip to the Bahá’í Temple that I discussed in the preceding post.

I exited the train at the Linden stop, the northernmost stop; end of the line. As I began walking, I suddenly realized that I was starving. But it seemed that alleviating my hunger would not be a simple matter. Let me fully set the scene for you:

Though it was late morning, the streets were deserted. It seemed unlikely, at first blush, that I was going to find anyplace nearby that was open and serving food. The sun was high, steady and bright in the cloudless sky. The air was soundless except for the wind. I rounded a corner and was greeted by the sight shown below.

I was instantly struck by the resemblance between this view and many of the paintings of Edward Hopper – seemingly realistic, yet still, devoid of people, and lacking the details that ought to be included in such a scene.

But then – I don’t think it’s visible in this shot – I saw a glint of pink neon at the end of the block. I moved towards it and found that it was a diner. I opened the front door, stepped in, and everything changed.

The place was a classic American diner – padded rotating stools lining the counter on two sides and ten or so booths against the walls. The place was also jam-packed, and I was at the end of a line of about eight people waiting to be seated. The air was thick with the aroma of every traditional breakfast food and drink you could wish for.

I was actually seated very quickly, ahead of most of the other folks in line, by virtue of the fact that I was by myself and a seat had opened at the counter. A friendly, efficient waitress immediately wiped down the surface in front of me, handed me a menu, and turned away to wait on others. I then looked up at the various wall hangings behind the counter – and found myself directly facing a reproduction of Edward Hopper’s famous painting, “Nighthawks.”

I must say I lingered over breakfast that morning, not wanting this delicious scene to end any sooner than it needed to. But I also knew that I’d set out that day to do some serious walking. So after sopping up the last bit of syrup with my last bit of French toast, I paid my bill, tipped well, and continued on.

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