There, underneath a dark sky, in the midst of falling snow and sleet, I sought refuge under the warm light of Washington Square Diner, where I anticipated an end to a bad and disheartening year. I’m weary of the year 2020, the year of the Pandemic.
This Christmas has been delivered to us with hushed tones, with little of the merriment that normally accompanied it in past years. The essence of the sacrosanct is present on this special day. The one human trait the Pandemic didn’t suppress.
Pandemic has been the occupying force and we are at its mercy. Other people continue to die. As an occupied people, we have conspired to conjure microscopic weapons to stop COVID-19.
I believe it’s working, even though it’s distributing itself ever so agonizingly gradual.
The year 2020 will end with a mixture of uncertainty, anticipation, and above all else “Hope.”
Beyond the low voices of other patrons in the Diner, was the howling of a sour and gasping past overpowered by the dominant aroma of fresh coffee. I sat at my corner table and watched the inclement weather protest against a nearby steamed window. Meanwhile, I still look forward to a better future–there’s no turning back now, underneath a dark sky, in the midst of falling snow and sleet. I was there basking in the warm light of Washington Square Diner.
It’s not a particularly impressive building, yet its one-story smallness welcomes the mass of people who come from everywhere. The fact that It is a stand-alone building on Manhattan Island makes it a special, privileged structure among skyscrapers for not being made of glass, steel and concrete. This building in contrast is a wooden framed clapboard house with a brick face front, and that is perhaps why people feel welcome there. It stands as an antidote to corporate monumentalism.
Washington Square Diner is a neighborhood institution approximately 200 years old and originally serving the Working Classes for generations. Even the word “Diner,” and not “Restaurant,” denotes a proletarian service. It’s food and drink aren’t “Cuisine,” but a simple, economical and wholesome fare with variety, separate from the fast food that everyone often associates with McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Taco Bell, which incidentally is nearby.
In the City, the Diners used to operate almost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but not as much anymore. Washington Square Diner still operates 24/7 to all walks of life: New York University students and faculty, vagabonds, tourists, bohemian denizens of the Village, musicians, poets, and struggling actors.