Sept. 9, 7:42 p.m.
Q Train – Times Square to 7th Avenue
There’s a brass band, with a plastic jug drum set, playing a Merengue. A young black man is dancing. His feet are barely moving but his hips undulate back and forth and his torso folds up and down, severely.
He’s sitting down on the train, counting and folding and pocketing and then recounting a wad of dollar bills that looks to add up to 16 bucks. His friend – six inches taller and 100 pounds heavier – is flipping through the Post rather than reading the Nelson DeMille novel resting on his left thigh.
A woman enters the train and sits between our friends without realizing it. She discovers her mistake and offers to switch but they both shake their heads, smiling.
Our dancer accidentally elbows the woman on his right, and apologizes. She smiles and nods that it’s OK, and he seems to notice for the first time that she’s kind of pretty: she turns quickly back to her book, but he holds his starboard gaze. He looks over for 10, 20 seconds at a time, trying to read what appears to be an economics text in her lap. But her bookward stare is focused, like a surgeon operating with a team of deprived residents staring down at the procedure. He pulls his cellphone to his ear as we cross the bridge, but doesn’t say anything into the phone.