Here is New York, in spring 2011

On my way back from the artificial hip-healthy gym, with the sun barely up, the AA cashier at the drugstore wished me Happy Easter and I wondered what made her think it was safe to say with Passover so close behind us. “Same to you,” I reflexively responded anyway. On my second outing of the day, clouds moving in, I went to the Greenmarket on 97th Street not because I needed any food while home alone but just to say hi to Ray Bradley and his sidekick Hardeep, back for the new season and selling first-I’ve-ever-seen cabbage greens, just picked from the warmed-up fields. I surrendered a hug to Hardeep but left with regret: I forgot to tell Ray that Dirt Farmer Larry in Iowa had Tweeted me to say hello to him (“he’ll know who you mean”). And on my third venture out into the chill light and rampant blossoms I passed a long Good Friday procession of Mexicans very far from Calvary — some on their mobiles, all accompanied by a creeping squad car. Down the block from our place I stopped to buy four bananas for a dollar from the South Asian couple whose fruit cart also returned this week after the wild winter. “I don’t need a bag,” I said (as always). But (for the first time): “Welcome back.” And the wife actually half-smiled.