I love LOVE Grand Central Station. One morning two or three months ago I sat alone in the food court as my daughter and her boyfriend went off shopping. There is absolutely nothing so comfortable as being alone in a crowded place. Three tables of Hispanic men called loudly to each other in–you guessed it–Spanish, thereby relieving me of any incidental involvement in whatever they were discussing, in whatever course their lives were taking. People hustled by. Some happy, some sad–that is if one should assume such generalizations based upon fleeting glimpses of gait, posture and facial expression. Others, I wonder how many were tourists, bore through the crowds with that iconic NYC glacial exterior.
To my right, a table, a puddle of some sort beneath its one chair, a knapsack and wadded plastic bag on its surface. Ten or so paces off stood two military types complete with rank insignia, hand-held communication devices. Sidearms. One’s notice kept returning to the empty table. Eventually she turned her companion’s attention that way. They approached.
“Sir, do you know who is sitting here?” the male soldier inquired.
“No,” I replied, adding, “I’ve been here almost half an hour, and no one has been over there.”
Two transit police arrived. Further calls were made. The table was cordoned off.
Excited by the prospect of participation in a genuine terrorist incident, I remained seated, hoping I would not be required to move, that GCT would not be evacuated. My daughter and Jah were safe. I had no fear. Just anticipation.
The sad part of such incidents then arrived. A totally clueless homeless man shuffled upon the scene, a plastic bag containing three empty returnable bottles in one hand, a bent staff in the other. After a round of questioning, the forces of homeland security departed and the bottleman sat unperturbed rattling his plastic against itself. Eventually, he gathered his things, my family returned, and we took our train up to Croton-Harmon.
I LOVE Grand Central