Noir Night

Manhattan on a windy autumn night is straight out of a film noir. I was meeting someone near Columbus Circle for dinner. The leaves have fallen, the leaves swirled through the darkness. It was misty. Chilly, but not too cold. A brisk fall night. Columbus Circle is ablaze with neon and traffic but it’s right there that Central Park begins. A contrast. Everywhere I looked, I saw something beautiful, and striking, and singular. Darkness behind me, light in front of me. Or darkness in front, light behind. I was that jerk walking around in Central Park at night taking pictures of myself and experimenting with the light. It’s not every day that you step into a film noir. The only thing left was to meet a man in a trench coat and a fedora in a dark alley for some mysterious double-crossing exchange. The night felt wild, unfettered. I have been holed up with myself, mostly, for about two months, because of all these big writing projects. I went out into the world last Thursday night like an escaped prisoner. I was meeting someone in a loud and jostling Mexican joint across from Lincoln Center. The crush and hustle of humanity. I thought to myself, excited, bold, “I think I’ll even have a beer tonight!” (And I did. One Negra Modelo. Life on the wild side.) I had been looking forward to going out for days, because the isolation had become a bit … prolonged. Emerging into that night was beautiful, because it was the kind of night, to use Anne of Green Gables’ term, that had “scope for imagination.” I was almost late for my date because I was too busy taking pictures of grates and the buildings of Central Park West and the neon of Columbus Circle and my own mug half-in half-out of the light. Everything I looked at was beautiful, dark, and dreamy. New York at its most evocative.








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10 Responses to Noir Night

  1. Lyrie says:

    Beautiful! Don’t you just love it when you live in an adventure?

    These days I spend most of my time in the metro and at the university. When I finally have time to emerge and be “in the world”, I’ll probably be in a Christmas comedy? A Jack London adventure? (I’ve been waiting for the snow to finally re-read White Fangs and Call of the Wild).

    God, I can’t wait to finally meet New York, some day. I’m so close, now! I love those pictures.

  2. Barb says:

    Wow, so gorgeous, Sheila! This is the New York of legends, as Lyrie says–complete with troll bridge. I have been to the city, but I’m not sure I’ve been to THIS city.

  3. Carolyn Clarke says:

    I love it when someone gets NY the way it really is and writes about so beautifully. I know that area well. I went to school at Fordham @ Lincoln Center. I was raised in the tenements that were torn down to build Lincoln Center.

    Thank you.

    • sheila says:

      Wow! You went to Fordham!! Cool!!

      So these are your childhood stomping grounds, too. Amazing. I lived for about 6 months in an apartment complex behind Lincoln Center – 63rd or something like that – right by the John Jay school. It was temporary (I lived in a living room sectioned off by a curtain) – I was in grad school – and my two roommates were insane and loud company members with the Joffrey. I felt like an old lady because I needed SLEEP and those ballet boys were WILD partiers!

      But I did love living in that area.

  4. Desirae says:

    I love nights like this.

  5. MBerg says:


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