The Painter on the Street:
BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH
On September 10th, 2001, just as the novelist Ottessa Moshfegh was emerging from a long period of depression, she had a chance encounter with an artist she would never forget. Years later, he shared his memories of the next day.
"September 10, 2001, my mother came to visit me in New York City. I lived on the Upper West Side. We went for a walk in Riverside Park, got tea at the Hungarian Pastry Shop on Amsterdam, and then my mother suggested we go downtown for a late lunch. What she meant was that she wanted to go to Canal Street to buy a new ten-dollar watch. She was obsessed with these cheap Chinatown watches. She collected them, as she did many things—coats, carpets, cups and saucers, books, baskets, old plastic dolls, beaded necklaces, wooden masks, antique furniture, lamps, flower pots, silk scarves. Chinatown and all its chaos, my mother said, reminded her of the bazaars of Tehran, where she lived briefly with my father before the revolution, and of the farmers markets in Zagreb, where she grew up. Her penchant for cheap watches and her need to keep replacing them were never discussed."