I hope you have seen the film, “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner,” and if you haven’t, you must. I remembered the whole story in a flash, or a series of bright flashes, on Friday, as I was walking along Riverside Drive watching the sun set over Jersey City in the distance and thinking about how empty the grand avenues of the early twentieth century seem today. I don’t quite understand the connection my brain made between the two landscapes (one real, one remembered), except that there was something distinctly colorless and faded about the streets that day, like a black-and-white movie, I suppose. And there is a peculiar emptiness to the streets in grim films set in northern Britain that seems particularly analogous to certain neighborhoods in New York that are quiet and wistful, today. Anyway, I saw the film for the first time in the theater of the National Gallery (on a date, no less), and remember just feeling so unbearably sad when it ended. That final scene. What a choice to make.
(This post is dedicated to Andy M.)