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  • Painted faces in a Hudson window. Beehive hairdo retro girls from around the block and back again, shades of Cyndi Lauper.

    Dale knows all the best places. When she walks down the street, everyone stops to hello her, touches her hand. We hover on the edge of introductions, fresh from Northampton, visiting possibilities.

    A carved face in a doorway chances in. 1800s-weathered, flashbacks to whalers returning harpoons from the Atlantic, journeying upriver to winter over ships, locked for a season of ice floes. Layers of paint since then, on houses that used to be brothels. Or so they say in towns like this. Legends of infamy, if not echoes of raucous parties.

    A church, half-repaired, asks for funding to continue. Grey stone building blocks, cracks in the stained glass windows. A red thermometer half-risen with dollar signs.

    An antique shop box is filled with keys, tied with handwritten tags. Codes for place names, defunct entry points, doors unhinged from their frames.

    Finn spins the 50s schoolroom globe--once, twice, a third time. Slow motion leads to mascara-eyed elephants from Kirala and an Indonesian kayak transformed into a velvet divan.

    Curiosities, slightly rusted. Enamel numbers from Paris. Perforated tractor seats from Ghent. Winches and pulleys from somewhere in Valhalla.

    I buy a set of five plates, yellow petals for desserts. Always five, in case one breaks.

    That night we have dinner at Club Helsinki. Watermelon gazpacho, clams from Long Island and cucumber martinis. Onstage, a giant man makes music out of laptops, sampling rhythms from Brazil, Botswana and Brooklyn. He bobs his head under the headset.

    We take the Taconic South the next morning.
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