I can come up with a handful of half-decent excuses to not talk to a canvasser on the street, ranging from the whiny to the legit– I really am too broke to help. But to tell the truth, I also don’t want to get into a difficult conversation about the dismal state of the world. Don’t we have enough of that shoved down our social media feeds everyday? So yes, turns out I am that person that we wrote about in October, the one who brushes past Amnesty International canvassers. There’s an art to it, too: first I let my gaze turn steely, then I tighten the grip on my bag and put on an air of a person with a purpose. It works like a charm and at worst, I’m left with a slight twinge of guilt.
At 81 years old, D’yan Forest describes herself as a “young Betty White.” The octogenarian and veteran performer doesn’t mask her sexual conquests in grandma-speak. Indeed she speaks Millennial more fluently than some natives I know– she’s sex positive, has done her fair share of swiping left on Tinder, and is open-minded toward all kinds of people. Before I set off to the West Village apartment to meet D’yan where she’s lived since the ’60s, I phoned her and she assured me: “I’m very interesting, too, darling.” Click. It’s hard to argue with that: the multi-instrumentalist’s career spans at least three continents, and she can sing in nine languages. On top of all that, she’s now trying to hack it as a stand-up comic.
As a 30-year resident of the East Village, Daniel Root has seen his fair share of neighborhood transformation. “But you know, when you’re living in a place, it doesn’t really jump out at you that it’s changed that much, because obviously it’s a gradual change. Even though right now, at the moment, it feels like it’s ramping up in speed,” he said.
Last night, Jim Power, the legendary Mosaic Man, took to his Twitter and Facebook to post a diatribe on the waning support from his community. Power is trying to raise money to continue his work on the Mosaic Trail: 80 decorated light poles, bedazzled with colorful pieces of tile, spattered around the East Village.