"People actually live in this neighborhood, if you can believe that," hissed some hipster lady as she scuttled by the crowd waiting for a glimpse of John Kerry, who'd just given a speech across the street at Cooper Union's Great Hall. Yes, people do live in this swinging-not-swing state, and Kerry's 45 minutes of personal attention at lunchtime was intended as a pat on the back, a gesture of thanks for all those $50 contributions. Timed, of course, to coincide with the city's thankless task of hosting the RNC. (We'd like to see that chick try and march into Central Park next week.)
Anyway, spirits and probably a couple of the old hippies there were high. The harshest comment, from one passerby to another, overheard: "It's s'posed to be Kerrylet's go!" (Yeah, people actually live in this neighborhood!) Folks who heard the speechI stayed outside and stared, as creepily as possible, at the Fox News crewgave it the glowing reviews you'd expect. Luke Avadon said Kerry was "pounding it in," "it" being his platformhey, cool. No references to the 'Nam Vets ad controversy, though Mike Donovan, who hates "this bullshit about the swift boat" and witnessed Kerry speaking in '71, heard some reassuring plugs of the man's military recordlisten people, there are witnesses.
A well-coiffed Kerry shook a bunch of hands in front of the Starbucks on the east side of Astor Place while a black SUV with its back door open crawled along behind him. He even held a sniffling baby, Julian Samuel Lazin Green, a curly redhead who turns two on September 6. (Happy birthday, Julian Samuel Lazin Green!) By ten past 1, the mall punks had their neighborhood back.