This city is full of people that you see just about every day, but about whom you know nothing.
:: Ms. Tina, the city’s favorite transvestite and headliner at Ed and Ellen’s Bar, on York Avenue. She is a common sight for sore eyes walking her caramel-colored Pomeranian and is never met, no matter the weather, without her pink patent leather pumps.
:: Jessica “Winter” Walters, sure to be found no matter the time nor day, sketching the factories around Baxter Park and selling tourists her signature “City Spirit” paintings. A friend of ours has even seen one of Winter’s warehouse studies- complete with her trademark city skyline background and ghost of fallen factory worker with an empty word bubble- hanging on the wall of a bookstore to the east of Central Station in Amsterdam.
:: Watch out for Zim, the puckish, midnight-clothed skateboarder working on going pro, as he skates inside the General Tallmer Memorial Fountain in winter, or plays his harmonica and homemade drum set of pots, pans, garbage cans, and paint buckets in summer. We have a feeling young Zim is really going to make it in the X-treme world, judging by his dedication and competitive fire.
:: “Mumbly Joe” Kestak, once a walk-on safety for the local professional football franchise, is now one of the city’s homeless vagabonds, often found walking around the city with his companion Bootsy, a large yellow boa constrictor. Mumbly Joe is a friendly fellow who, for a quarter, will let children pet Bootsy and for a dollar, will turn his radio down for five minutes.
:: Mr. and Mrs. Randall St. James, though physically two people, count as one here and you’ll know why the moment you meet them. This old couple, in love and happily married for 57 years, are never seen without their elbows hooked together, more often than not, on their favorite bench, sharing a bagel and lox washed down with heavily sugared coffee Sunday mornings. They’ll freely lecture you on your choice of clothing or the ways in which society has strayed from the straight and narrow, but if you’re lucky, they’ll invite you to sit with them and hear, again, the story of how they met in that dance hall so long ago. And then they will tell you again. And then again.
– M. Cathers