Monday, August 3, 2009
The Rose Man has disappeared from the corner of W178th and Ft. Washington. It happened during winter, when the icy winds blustered up, down, and around the streets of Washington Heights. Gone is the shopping cart that used to greet me with a rainbow of flowers on Friday afternoons. Gone are the long stemmed roses that he carefully chose with a flourish and a smile. Gone are his cheerful eyes that used to meet mine when he handed over the flowers. A different Rose Man has taken his place. He stands in front of the farmacia latina at W181st St. He also has a shopping cart. But in his cart roses hide amidst carnations. These roses are short-stemmed, pre-wrapped in cellophane with sprays of baby's breath and insignificant fern leaves. He hands over the roses with a smile, but quickly looks down to count the money. Business is business. I miss the old Rose Man.