Chesler Chronicles

Burqas Come to Bohemia. Greenwich Village, 2008


A friend calls to tell me that suddenly, a completely burqa-ed (or abaya-ed) woman seems to have moved into the legendary apartment building for artists-only in Greenwich Village that my friend calls home. She says: “This woman also wears dark sun glasses so you can’t even see her eyes.”

Then, another friend who lives in the same building calls me. She says: “This woman is spooky. But I’m afraid to talk to her, to ask her whether she or perhaps her husband are artists. She has some really big men with her. If she were friendly, she might stop and talk to another woman, wouldn’t she?”

It’s 2008 in Greenwich Village, which has a long and honorable history of radical “attitude”–and my phone caller is whispering.

“Maybe she’s engaged in some kind of political theatre” I suggest. “Ask her.”

But my colleagues, who are brave artists, do not think this is possible. They accompany each other on a midnight mission to photograph the sign the burqa-ed Lady has on her door. It reads:

“Only Allah (God) deserves to be worshipped. (He is One. He has no partner.) Adam, Noah, Abraham, Lot, Job…Moses, Jesus, and Muhammed (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) are Allah’s slave servants and Messengers. And…Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

I have no comment at this time. I am merely the Messenger, passing along this information.