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Letters From the Editor

Jubilee Grows in Brooklyn

There has been a band marching around Williamsburg this afternoon, eight or ten members strong, like a New Orleans funeral march. The music is jazz-like, samba-ish, led by a group of horns and kept in time by multiple percussionists, each on small, hand-held instruments. I counted a baritone saxophone, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, tiny trumpet (I’m not sure what they’re called but they look like a large bread roll with a clamshell stuck to its end), shaker gourd, wood block, metal clangy thing, and a pair of wooden sticks that, when struck together, produce a sound like a gun shot, hollowed out.

They’ve had a couple of groupies for as long as I’ve seen them and everyone has come out of their apartments to watch. Even the owners of a guitar shop across the street quieted its customers and poked their heads out the door, smiling. I saw a man, while waiting for the bus, dance in place, leaning forward and back like there were strong winds coming from either side. A pair of young ladies stopped their conversation and started clapping when the band passed them.

It’s the first time in a week and a half that I’ve seen people stop on the street, stare around, and enjoy themselves. We’ve all been stopping our lives recently for horrible reasons. Then we resumed them, pretending our days were back to their normal routines, and tried our best to look satisfied, urgent, or annoyed. We have pretended to be glad that we’re back to the middle emotions of the everyday.

Then an impromptu marching band shows up and won’t go away, won’t let you ignore them, and everything seems wonderful, pulsing, and light for a brief, short minute.

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded TMN with publisher Andrew Womack in 1999. His latest book is Everything Now: Lessons From the City-State of Los Angeles. More information can be found at More by Rosecrans Baldwin

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