Now they got the stadium at Beşiktaş.
Whoever they is.
It sat right below our window on the hill near Taksim Square, during our visit.
Turkey is one of the most fantastic (in the Orhan Pamuk sense) places in the world.
I’m glad we got there in 2012, just before all hell broke loose.
Of course, that goes for a lot of places these days. We have seen familiar streets, places we have recently walked, get blown up by nihilists of one persuasion or another. Boston. London. Paris. Nice. Istanbul. The world we knew. The world where people still try to live.
The sun comes up over Asia, lights up the Bosporus, shines on Beşiktaş Stadium and our hotel, diligently guarded.
The window from which this photo was taken had a little round arrow, pointing south and east, toward Mecca, so tourists could say their prayers.
Sitting at my laptop in the mornings, I prayed for people, for cities, for the collective impulse for life that made the streets throb with life, the pungent odors of coffee and kebabs, in all directions off Taksim Square.
Now somebody has blown up police officers, there to guard humanity, that is to say, us – to keep fans from rioting, from hurting the innocent. Now blown up.
We walked past that stadium every day, downhill, toward the tram that glided to a terrific art museum, to ferries to Uskadar – Asia! – to mosques and cafés and bazaars, the staples of life.
Even football is part of life, with its rivalries, its ballet and speed and power and fakery and thuggery.
Somebody got Beşiktaş. Struck life itself.
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.