I forgot: you need coins or a pre-paid Metrocard for the New York buses, and one morning several weeks ago, as I stood at the eastbound stop on the corner of Broadway and 125th Street, I realised I had neither. Only notes. Two other men were waiting for the M60, the cross-town bus — the one I was to take to the Harlem railway station — and there was no time to go in search of change. Through the broad arch of the iron bridge over 125th Street, which supports an elevated section of the Broadway subway line, I saw a bus coming from the Hudson, and I turned to the more together-looking of the two men and asked him if he had change for a couple of dollar bills.
‘Yes, I believe so,’ he said, putting a hand into one of the pockets of an unzipped brown suede jacket.