THIRTY CACTI & ONE BURR

Can we talk about New York again for a minute?

Because ever since I’ve returned to the land (and season) of running from house to car and back, I’m really craving those scattered bits of story one bumps into on the street.

Like whatever mysterious story was happening at the corner of Prince and Macdougal, where a neat row of cacti lined the sills of the gorgeous old windows.

It was a quiet Soho corner, nestled between charming cafes and shops. The towering windows seemed the perfect location for a boutique or restaurant, but the 8-foot vertical blinds were pulled tightly shut. There was no awning, entry, or signage in sight.

It wasn’t a shop. Maybe a home? Or a private club of some sort?

We stopped to admire the carefully spaced pots, each with its own plant marker, and wondered what went on behind those blinds.

The next day, we were delighted to find ourselves passing the same windows again. But this time we saw a tiny flash of action that has left us guessing ever since. If we had walked by a moment earlier or later, we would have missed it. But somehow both Alex and I caught it.

Just as we were nearing the end of the cactus row, a trembling woman’s hand, skin thinning with age, reached through a gap in the still-closed blinds, pulled out the plant marker nearest us, and retreated back in.

We are still wondering why.

Did she forget the name of that particular cactus and feel a sudden urge to check the marker?

Did the marker provide some sort of clue about whether that cactus needed watering?

Was she progressing down the line of cacti, or did she target that pot exclusively?

And why not open the blinds to examine the cactus by sight?

Is this a secret operation?

Is she a recluse?

Shy?

Blind?

And why does she leave some of the most stunning windows in Manhattan perpetually hidden behind drawn blinds?

The questions are completely insignificant, but also tantalizingly unanswered.

Don’t you think?

P.S. The third time we passed, we did finally spot some signage — but it belonged to the townhouse right next door.

Wait, what? That brings up a whole other batch of questions about another New York story—involving a guy named Hamilton and his rival Aaron Burr. Good thing we were in New York to see that story. (!!)

P.P.S. A little Google sleuthing answered a few questions—and revealed a few more mysteries—about the windows at 205 Prince Street. Click here and here and enjoy.

xo

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