While walking through Hell’s Kitchen the other day on the way back to the office after a location scout we heard a sudden shout in the street. Just a few feet from the sidewalk a bald guy with a cutoff t-shirt, exposing his pale, white, hairy arms, threw his bike to the ground. “Come on!” he shouts. “Come on then!”
Who was he yelling at? What the heck did we do?
This dude, sweat drifting down his face, shoulders red and burnt from the 80-degree sun, then stepped on and over his bicycle and in the same motion pulled a CHAIN off the back of the bike. Not just the bike’s chain, but a THICK METAL CHAINLINK, the kind of weapon you would see a TMNT villain holding in Eastman’s comics.
His face glistened and was burning red around the nose. Eyes on fire, he waved the chain back and forth at his side while pacing furiously, like a bear trapped in a cage. “Come on then!” He shouted.
As we continued to walk by we discovered that this odd, unexpected outburst was directed at a tall, lanky college kid wearing a Red Sox Jersey. The kid was holding a stack of flyers in his hands, his jaw bouncing as he continued chewing gum. He was wearing sunglasses, but we didn’t need to see his eyes to know he thought this predicament was ridiculous.
The smirk was enough.
Chain-man continued pacing closer to Red Sox dude, whipping the chain around. Red Sox finally started to say “alright, alright,” and backed away, without crossing the street.
He kept smirking.
“Come on then! F**cking Red Sox!”
There it was. Whatever the supposed reason this Chain-man was angry apparently had nothing to do with the heat, or an invasion of personal space, or the silly flyers. This was personal. This was the city come alive.
This was sports.
(Or maybe he just needed a material reason to justify his anger.)
We turned the corner with a final look back at the scene, Chain-man continuing to circle while Red Sox just smirked and chewed his gum.
The chain jingled again, actually echoing through the streets. We put a building and a block between ourselves and the scene, outcome unknown.
Be pleasant, New York.