Tuesday, February 07, 2012

There was just a blast from a foghorn just now, a low, slow honk, all the way from out wherever it is the cruise ships dock. What could be happening at one o’clock in the morning? Is it the call for everyone to come back aboard, after a Monday evening spent touring the anti-New York City downtown: the South Street Seaport, Ground Zero, the Wall Street Bull? Then it’s hurry up to the cash registers at the tchotchke shop, you heard that siren wail.

On a late spring evening in 2000, a boat off Battery Park made a similar sound while the Ornette Coleman Trio played. We all wondered if Ornette would respond in kind. I wanted him to, of course, and anticipated it, and considered how disappointing it would be if he didn’t, and immediately thought it might be great if he didn’t—if he refused to acknowledge it, to indulge us, even as he knew that’s what we wanted—and just then, a second or two after the boat’s moan ended, he punctuated his solo with a few long, low blasts of his own.