Unashamedly, I subscribe to a number of ‘women’s’ magazines. Mainly for the fashion and beauty pages, but I get my moneys worth and read the sex advice columns. Recently one of these mags has a ’50 shades of grey’, every woman’s fantasy, to be continued in the next issue- story, titled ’69th & Lex’. It’s pretty unimaginative. Young, female professional having it off with her neighbour who is tall, dark and ripped, not to mention filthy rich. The thing is, it’s written to make you believe this is a real life story. Now I am not saying you can’t have passionate and steamy sex with your hot neighbour (nor am I admitting anything…) but I did happen to learn what truly goes on, on 69th Street and Lexington Avenue.
Last Friday I went to work on 72nd street and 1st Avenue. Being on a break from my tour I am staying with friends. And being a girls girl I have a lot of baggage with me whilst on the move. Therefore I enlisted help from my friend J who was also kind enough to offer me a place to stay for a week. At 10:30pm being completely chivalrous and my white knight, J met me from work to carry my bags back to Brooklyn. We hadn’t seen each other for a while and had heaps to catch up on but the first thing he told me was about this amazing experience he had on his way to meet me.
As he was walking east on 69th street and towards Lexington Avenue he saw an elderly man on his stoop calling for help. Being the gentleman he is, J rushed over to see what the issue was. The man spoke little English but managed to say ‘Please. I need help. Lights. Come inside. Come inside’. After a second of hesitation and tuning into his gut instinct, J followed the man inside.
The house was huge with tall ceilings and a 1920’s decor. Inside the house were more people, an old woman smiling saying ‘please, please, lights’. J continued to follow the man from the stoop through the cluttered house. He passed room after room, and more people bowing their heads in acknowledgement. The man stopped and pointed to a hatch in the wall. Soon J realised what was happening. These people were Jewish and observing the Sabbath (Shabbat). They needed J to turn off the lights.
After the task was done they thanked J by offering him some ‘Challah’ bread in return for being their ‘Shabbos Goy’ of the night. Being gluten free J politely declined and continued on his journey to do his next good deed for the evening; meeting me.
In spite of being slightly disappointed to have turned down the Challah bread (after all it makes the best french toast!), J felt happy to have been a part of this ritual and to have experienced somebody else’s culture. I too was happy he ‘enlightened’ me with his tale.
In conclusion, the only sparks happening on a regular basis at 69th and Lex, are those of electricity. From a tradition allowing you to reflect on your day.