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There are days and nights I want you to watch out for. The feast day of St. Francis, for example, when St. Patrick's Cathedral will nab any Italian it can find and make them attend Mass. Then there's the two solstices, when the brickwork hums to lead you astray. But the one I really want you to watch out for is not marked by any holiday.

It occurrs on July 31, when the summer is highest and each day feels no different than the last. Go out that night to the Joe Dimaggio Parkway and watch for the cars coming into the city. Notice how you can't see the car behind the bright lights? You could swear there was no car there.

On that night, you would be right. The lights come roaring down the Parkway, disembodied. All in a long line.

The procession does not slow, nor turn to a side street, but continues until the road becomes the Roosevelt Parkway heading up the East River. My spotters tell me they follow this road all the way up the island, until Roosevelt splits into 10th Ave and Dyckman. They turn onto Dyckman and then onto Riverside, and then they get back on the highway and do it all over again. They do this nine times before taking 10th Ave into The Bronx and vanishing.

Muckamuck tells me he thinks it's Coyote trying to get into the city. I tell him, Ha! He'd get bored after 2 years. No, I think it's phantom drivers, those that died in their cars on lonely, rainy nights and never made it home. They can't ever make it home. Car-spirits are repelled by Manhattan's pedestrian life.

Don't drive at night on July 31. Stay home. Safe. For once.

 

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