For people in the windows game Manhattan is a Utopia, a capitalist’s fantasy born of silica and bolstered by architects. Think of all the installs, replacements, custom orders, and repairs waiting for the deft hand of a talented glazier. Hundreds, thousands, millions! Hell, one lousy building renovation could transform a struggling business into a thriving one. If you happen to wash windows for a living, work is plentiful enough to keep you swimming in Windex for decades. Sure, the competition is fierce and job sites are sometimes a bit dicey, but damn, if you can schmooze your way past the doormen and the local 32BJ-SEIU you will find an overflowing buffet of cracks and soot dripping with cash and promise.

Alas, for the rest of us the care and feeding of this translucent paradise does not help our bank accounts. It does, however, provide an abundance of opportunities to experience cool, new versions of Rear Window on a daily basis, if only in our imagination. When you see countless crystalline squares and rectangles how can you not wonder what goes on behind them? This is especially true with photos of the Manhattan skyline from a certain distance. If you look closely you can kinda sorta peer into these private spaces, but not really. You wonder, “What is going on in all those apartments and offices?” Well, the answer is quite simple: whatever you want.

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flag bunting in front of the old Hopewell Academy (est 1756)

flag bunting in front of the old Hopewell Academy (est 1756)

Hopewell exists in our consciousness somewhere between dreams and fantasies. An impossibly gorgeous spring morning is bright, cool, and verdant. The scent of blooming honeysuckle and the purposeful hum of lawn mowers are inescapable. A slight breeze slips through the trees, gently rustling leaves and encouraging recently migrated sparrows and warblers to tweet their singular songs. Hopewell’s languid tree-lined streets boast charming, historic homes with double doors and broad front yards. Abandoned tricycles sit quietly on their side waiting for the return of children momentarily distracted by some new thrill. A modest variety of quaint storefronts cater to the town’s eclectic residents offering quality antiques, piano lessons, and interior design services, specialties not suited for the impersonal reality of the large shopping malls to the east. People sit at sidewalk tables eating breakfast muffins and chatting with neighbors. The distant whistle of passing cargo train is a reminder that a world exists beyond Hopewell’s borders, a world far more stressful and harsh. For now drifting between dreams and fantasies seems about perfect.

flowers on a rail

flowers on a rail

hopewell station (currently not in use)

hopewell station (currently not in use)

calvary baptist church

calvary baptist church

old home

old home

residential

residential

Searching for something to watch, but don’t have the time to read movie reviews that drone on longer than one sentence? Look no further! We’re here to help with the latest installment of Shorts! And, if you want more opinions, the entire list can be found here.

Salt (2010) – Standard spy thriller is far more entertaining than could be reasonably expected. (3) – 3/10/15

They Were So Young (1954) – High class modeling opportunities in Rio merely a front for low-fi call girl shenanigans in this wink-wink offering. (2½) – 3/10/15

Captain Phillips (2013) – Hanks confidently steers this powerful and tense, if a bit long, true story of a hijacked cargo ship. (3½) – 3/10/15

Casablanca (1942) – All movies try, but only a handful succeed like this. (4) – 3/10/15

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Hugely entertaining slice of the Marvel Universe is nothing if not grootilious. (3½) – 3/10/15

10 Things I Hate About You (1999) – Teen dramedy satisfies like an entrée of cotton candy. (2½) – 3/10/15

Snowpiercer (2013) – Train keeps a-rollin’ through post-apocalyptic tundra and in your face class warfare. (3½) – 3/10/15

Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The (2004) – Quirky, stylistic and mildly uneven Wes Anderson film about…well, the life aquatic. (3) – 3/10/15

Foreign Correspondent (1940) – American journalist is sent to warring Europe where he finds intrigue, spies, and love in this superior Hitchcock film. (4) – 3/10/15

I, Robot (2004) – Will Smith in the future outsmarting, outpacing, and outbuffing technology gone wild. (3) – 3/10/15