74. The New Amsterdam Theatre

74. P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton began their long collaboration in Broadway musical comedy with Miss Springtime, opening in 1916 at the New Amsterdam Theatre, 214 West 42nd St.

Welcome to Reading the City.

While walking, at 6:52, I saw hundreds of people on bikes with signs, seeking justice for Breonna Taylor. A Black Lives Matter Justice Ride. At 7:17 pm, I just learned, a speeding car deliberately drove into protestors, leaving two hospitalized.

Earlier this week, I cried during a call with a client. A Black woman in the American south who has to warn her son about not putting his hands in his pockets when he goes to the store. She and her family are thinking of moving to Toronto. They couldn’t go to the mountains for the weekend the way they love to do because things are getting worse by the day. What if their car breaks down? She said something that sticks with me about why so many white people are becoming allies now.

“Wearing a mask shows a glimpse of how it feels for us every day,” she said. “Wanting to do things and not being able to shows how it feels when you don’t have the privileges you usually have. It’s exhausting for us now. But it’s always been exhausting.”

I wonder if things will change at all now that the NYPD has to wear masks.

I kept walking toward the New Amsterdam. Theatres are closed but the lights are still on. People are out, but there are no tourists.

Before I left for the walk, I texted my nephew and asked him what he knows about Miss Springtime, the destination for this entry. He is obsessed with Broadway musicals. Each year for his birthday I give him a trip to New York and tickets to the show of his choice. This summer he couldn’t make the trip because of Covid. I haven’t seen any of my beloved nieces or nephews, my cousins, or even my mother, since this all began.

Yet here we are, 209,000 American deaths later (and with millions of people facing the prospect of becoming Covid long haulers) and those in charge of governing this country chose to announce a Supreme Court nominee in an event with no masks and more people than DC allows in attendance. Alternative reality can’t hold up forever.

SAY HER NAME is painted on lots of walls as a reminder of the demand for justice after Breonna Taylor’s killing on March 13, 2020, just six days before the start of spring.

After all this, I don’t know what Miss Springtime is about. I know the demand for justice for Breonna Taylor will continue to grow. We will not go back to the ways things were before. This powerful speech by activist Tamika Mallory holding Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron accountable is a turning point, and it’s already working its way into the popular imagination, as Megan Thee Stallion showed last night.

We have to use our voices and our brains. That’s what they’re for.

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