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Rod Townsend (aka our commenter Momo), sometimes receives telephone calls from The Past, a mysterious entity that remembers where things used to be in New York before Starbucks and Whole Foods came to town.


"Hello yourself, wigglewang. You're gonna die."

"What are you talking about, I'm perfectly..."

"So literal, you. No. I was just looking out my window and, I swear, I just saw her pop her head out of a limo. Here. On my street!"

"Saw who? I don't even know what street you live on."

"Dude. Madonna. Here. On Ludlow Street."

"You live on Ludlow? That's so trendy."

"What's trendy? Having a studio where you walk in the door and immediately have to walk around the oven and the refrigerator? Or the fact that my bathtub is in the living room? Granted, it is nice that they put some walls around the toilet. I like to call that four foot square place my sitio del sol."

"Sun room?"

"Yeah, I have three windows and the crapper closet gets one of them. It's good to have a view, I guess. Speaking of which, I can totally watch my downstairs neighbors through the holes in my teal-painted wood plank floor. I was wanting to repaint the floor to a different color, but I didn't want to drip paint down on them. Yeah. Ludlow is real trendy."

"But the shopping and the nightlife on Ludlow is ..."

"True. I mean, I do have La Esperanza right here on the block. Just next to Katz's Deli? I can get milk or chips or a Tropical Fantasy. And just about any Goya product. And when the guys running it aren't deep into their game of dominos they teach me fun Spanish slang like puta cagada. And this place Max Fish just opened. It's kind of got this gay meets rocker thing going on. Cute bartender there on Tuesdays."

"Yeah, there's a really sexy vibe on Ludlow."

"Of course there is, with all of the hot Dominican boys everywhere. One night last summer I was sitting on my couch watching Sue Simmons, well, more like listening to her since I don't have reception. Anyway, there's this flicker of light on the roof across the street. I look out and there's this Dominican guy, like nineteen, on full display ..."


"No, just with his shorts pulled down. But that's a story for another time anyway. And it reminds me why I called in the first place. Ma-freaking-donna, tickletaint!"

"You said she was in a limo?"

"Causing a commotion, you know? Rumor is that back when she lived over on Fourth between A and B, she got a taste for los platanos."

"But you can buy plantains at any supermarket in the city. Why not just go to Gristedes or D'Agostino?"

"Are you really that dense? She liked to hang out with the Latin boys and now that she's big, she'll get with some of her gal pals and ride around the neighborhood looking for guys. Ask any Dominican or Puerto Rican guy down here and he'll tell you. It's been a big rumor for years. And if enough people are saying it, there must be some truth to it, right?"

"I don't know man. But I can tell you that Madonna was supposed to be down on Ludlow this week to..."

"That is wuh-ild, nummynips! I love it! She's like 50 and still carrying on like that?"

"Not exactly, man. It's for Kabbalah."

"Huh? Most of the Islamic cab drivers hang at the deli over by Houston and A. Great place to get a cab, but why would Madonna ..."

"Kabbalah is a..."

"Stop. Dude. Um...The lighter on the roof across the street is flickering again. I gotta let you go, but I'll call you soon."

This image was lost some time after publication.

Earlier: Past, Over