There are lots of great reasons to wear a hat — and unfortunately one is to protect your hair from a drop of an unknown liquid falling from the 53rd St E train Manhattan subway station staircase ceiling.
As I walked yesterday on 53rd from Fifth Ave to Madison on the way to enter the subway, I saw two men sitting on the sidewalk washing their feet. No kidding. And the water snaked down the side walk toward the curb. I was careful not to step on this thin stream of water, while at the same time wondering they were a couple of homeless guys where had bought a big bottle of water just attempting to stay clean in a city with few public sanitary facilities. I would be reminded of that trickle of water a few minutes later.
Over across Madison I took the escalator and then a staircase deep down into the subway, happy enough, but hatless. As I walked down the second flight of steps, splat a fat drop of liquid, wetted my hair. It got me right near the center. Bullseye! I took out a napkin from my pocket — I really do try to be prepared — to wipe what I hoped was fresh rain water or condensation or something not too noxious. But how could I know.
Then I realized the irony of my position. I sell hats, but was not wearing one. My hair would not be host to an known liquid if only I had been wearing one of my favorites. Truthfully it has been a while that I have been living dangerously. In Greenpoint I stroll over sidewalks that are covered with droppings from pigeons that roost in the store canopies. I try to step in the places where there is less white residue, hoping to avoid the possible pigeon action. So far I have dodged the pigeons, yet the subway still got me.