At the Rockefeller Center

A certain sophistication’ll put you at ease, ease your inhibitions. And so a music plays in the Plaza and it’s the mood it puts you in, where in the fountain a golden god forever falls, and over that the god of art deco himself floats in a cloud over the portal of 30 Rockefeller Plaza to measure with his compass the words: WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL BE THE STABILITY OF THY TIMES, when you know damn well that it wasn’t wisdom and knowledge that put those words there, but advertisement, like Hanover Nuts Screws and Bolts Incorporated or Bloome’s Shoes, or Famous Ray’s Pizza The One and Only. But there’s more than ads to see here. For instance there’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral of vaulted arches and votive candles, where the spirit smells like paraffin and where it must be grace that makes the hair at the back of your neck stand up. Here, too, letters are addressed to diety like this one found on a piece of scrap paper: “Say this prayer for 9 days, leaving a copy of this prayer in a church each day, a request has never failed on the nineth day (9) May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, & the Immaculate Heart of Mary be praised & glorified this day & forever. St. Theresa of the child Jesus, pray for us. St. Jude pray for us & obtain our request. Amen.” Yes, Rockefeller Center has plenty to see, and plenty to satisfy, if one doesn’t miss poverty as much as stupidity and bigotry, much of which, however, I won’t discuss, including, in incomprehensible hieroglyphs the writing on the wall.

14 June 1979