Last Thursday, as has happened every day for going on a century, a couple middle-aged intellectuals gathered around a table in Greenwich Village to discuss the news of the day, which, as has happened every day for going on a century, did not suit them.
“They act like it’s a no-brainer,” Mark Crispin Miller explained of the acquaintances he had made in recent months in his quest to stand up to his employer and landlord, New York University. Just two days prior, a committee of the City Council, part of the monolithic “they” Mr. Crispin Miller was railing against, approved the university’s 2 million-square-foot expansion plan, which would plant four sizable buildings just across the street.
“‘Of course it’s going through,’ they tell you,” he said with disgust. “‘She’s running for mayor, she needs the support of the real estate industry, you moron.’” She would be Christine Quinn, Speaker of the City Council, without whose blessing almost nothing happens there. Her district also happens to be just around the corner, giving her added incentive to take an interest in, and credit for, the project.
“This is a no-bullshit city,” Patrick Deer interjected with his British crack. “Even if we see something’s off from across the street, we’ll barge in and do something about it. There’s an innate sense of justice. Or so I thought. I know there was when I got here.” Mr. Deer has been at NYU since 2002, teaching English.