Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dream Log: Dilapidated Manhattan

Last night I dreamed I was in Manhattan. I lived in Manhattan for a few years in the 1990's, and both before and since, I've often dreamed I was there -- sometimes in a place which actually looked and felt like Manhattan (assuming that Manhattan still looks and feels like it did in 1997, the last time I was there. I know that many huge buildings have gone up since then and that there are other changes like the elevated walkway they call the High Line, but it's hard for me to believe that the place would be unrecognizable to me), sometimes not. For example, in some of these dreams there have been phantasmagorical skyscraper-scapes which exist nowhere in the real world. More than once, I dreamed that Central Park was much bigger than it really is, and had the look of a rural area, with dirt roads and telephone poles and an isolated one-story house here and there.

In my dream I covered, on foot, a large part of Lower Manhattan. In real life, Lower Manhattan:

or midtown Manhattan:

may still have the greatest concentration of very tall buildings any where on Earth, although several Chinese cities have been catching up quickly. The buildings are taller in midtown and Lower Manhattan than elsewhere in NYC because the bedrock is deeper there, and the foundations of these skyscrapers have to go very deep underground to ensure that the building will remain stable.

In my dream last night, it was the present day and I was in Lower Manhattan, but all the buildings in sight were one or two stories, and most of them looked like they were falling apart. A few of the roads were gravel, the rest were dirt. The area seemed to be mostly residential and was crowded with people.

My brother and I and several other men were moving into a small one-story house. We were excited to have found such a place at a rent we could afford between us all, on my brother's salary and the other men's as successful stockbrokers and my earnings as a successful sculptor. (In real life I am not a sculptor and my brother is not a stockbroker.) Each of us had a small room to himself, and we shared a small living room, a small bathroom and a small kitchen. The stockbrokers had to get wheeling racks such as are found in New York's Garment District:

to hold their many business suits, because there were no closets in the house.

There was a little strip of woods across the dirt road from the row of small crumbling houses which included the one we had rented. I moved in more quickly than the others, having fewer possessions, and then I went for a walk in the woods. I saw sparrows and robins and squirrels there.

Speaking of stockbrokers, there was no sign of the New York Stock Exchange building in my dream, just as there was no sign of the many skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan irl.

On the morning after we moved into the house, my brother and I went to have our passports updated. We stood in a long line beside a chain-link fence, waiting to get into the passport office, which was a tiny shack, barely a booth. It was cold enough outside that we could see our breath.

Their was only room enough inside the shack for one person at a time to see the one city employee who worked there. When it was my turn, the man working in the passport office enlarged my passport photo so that it now took up an entire page in my passport. He also added a white laminated page which fit over the front cover of my passport and informed people in red-white and-blue letters that I was disabled.

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