Sickbay for lamps
Quisquilia: Lib. nov. is to be found here.
The city is a busy place and at the centre of permanent change, the world of unremitting consequence and moving at a fast pace, and this is its engine, the energizer bunny of modern capitalism, the trailblazing wizards of finance and fashions reshaping business, at its core, the bellwethers of progress at its top, pushing social reform ahead hard and fast, or vice-versa, the innovators and custodians of wealth switching ever so often, urban architecture metastasizing and trade trailing the vanguard, feeling a crowd in motion breathing down their neck with a dream (the dream) in sight (and ever so little out of reach), there is no time for popping your toes while making headway, and only little patience for the idle and even less for the less fortunate and the ailing –
Or so it may seem, with even the rodents in Alphabet City in fierce competition for limited resources (endless supplies of food and borrowed opulence and scheduled obsolescence) and proving significant vectors of disease in a rat race of the n-th order, and we haven’t touched on the subject of people yet, and still, even among the busiest of the busy, in the midst of quarterly fluctuation of tenants, retail, business, and fads alike, there is a home for the sick and elderly at this stalwart of hardware and housing supplies, a dependable hub of community relations and neighbourly care among domestic and small appliances and plumbing fixtures, all of which set the background to everyday human interaction and drama.
For nigh on a century this store at the Eastern thoroughfare of Manhattan has offered a shelter and meticulous care for its patients, those with rusty contacts and broken charging cables, and others whose bulbs keep burning out easily with passion and a bang, the flashy ones and the period pieces, the chance findings from a garage sale, a clearance, or Brooklyn Flea, some wooden characters with a crack and a spine and table antiques with expressive lighting and mushroom-shaped shades, then the hapless ones with severed limbs and those who shed their switches or sequined dress a fortnight ago or forty more. Each one is restored with skill and craft, reassembled with polished care and exactitude, reanimated with enough heart to light a family’s home for the days to come and the solemn hours by the bedside, refurbished and repaired so that the gritty streets and their haste must not spill over into the rest at night.