Madison Ivy Poker
Park Avenue was almost entirely deserted, and as he headed downtown, he could feel the deep winter chill in the wind that swept down it. The isolated streets looked eerily blue and deserted in the early morning hours, as if, at some time during the night, a terrible alarm had sounded and everyone had fled across the bridges, filling the outer boroughs as they emptied midtown. It was the sort of solitude he wanted, but only for a little while. And so, after a time, he turned west and headed into that part of the city where the streets came alive again, and stayed alive, no matter what the hour. The ghostly blue gave way to garish blasts of neon light, and a steady flow of traffic moved up and down the major avenues. Along Eighth Avenue, the whores leaned in tavern doors, their faces lit by the marquees of the porno theaters. While they worked the sidewalks, their pimps ran poker games or sold crack in the cheap hotels which lined the adjoining streets. It was only a fifteen-minute walk from the luxury condos of Park Avenue, but it was another world, teeming, immediate, a place where people still put something vital on the line. Over the last year it had become the only part of the city in which he felt at home, and there were times when he drank alone in the dank, smelly bars, or stood in the dark corners of the slum hotels, or walked slowly through the gray, spectral streets, and felt such a sudden, surging love for the people who surrounded him that he wanted to gather them all into his arms and lift them up into that peculiar light their own dark lives deserved.
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