THE MAD DASH
Baslow still owes you this story, Dear Reader:
At the Monday night briefing by UNICEF, conducted in the NY Bureau Office of Children's Express, we learned that David would need more passport-type photos for a visa. They would need to be at the CE Office by 9 A.M. the following day. The meeting ended a little after 7 P.M. Mrs. Baslow had to head home to pick up Rulizow. It was up to Baslow and David to get those photos. We had to be quick about it; David had a considerable amount of homework to hand in the next day.
By 7 P.M. most of the obvious places to have passport photos made were closed. We were told that the K-Mart at Penn Station had a photo-developing place which also did passport photos. As we walked along 23rd St. to the subway we examined every storefront to see if we might save ourselves a trip to Penn Station. No such luck. We decided to pick up sandwiches at a Subway before getting onto THE subway. We wolfed our sandwiches on the subway platform and on the train to 34th St.
We learned, when we arrived at the K-Mart, that their passport photo operation had been shut down several months earlier. Uh-oh.
Baslow has lived in the Big City a very long time. He knows lots of obscure places and lots of little tricks. Not having been much of a world traveller, however, he cannot instantly come up with after-hours passport-photo establishments. Baslow and David began to worry.
We were on the Long Island Rail Road level of Penn Station. We looked around at all the shops but none of them offered passport photos. We went up to an information window and asked. The clerk thought for a while and suggested that we try the photo department of a drugstore upstairs, on the Amtrak level.
We went upstairs to the drugstore. No luck. The guard there suggested, however, that among the shops ringing the main waiting area there HAD to be one that could take the photos. We rushed down the corridor to the main waiting area and circled it, peering into windows and occasionally going in.
Finally, we arrived at a little store that sold "Gifts and Electronics".
"Yes, wait here."
A white blind was produced and hung against a showcase. The person who knew where the special Polaroid camera was stored emerged from behind a door. The picture was taken in a minute (David, by this time, looking quite grim) and four copies emerged. They were trimmed and handed over to us. We paid the ten dollars and were on our way.
We made our way to the Number 1 train and hopped on an uptown. Baslow pointed out an empty seat to David, who sat immediately. He then pulled a book and his looseleaf binder out of this backpack and began doing homework.
Five minutes later he looked up and asked "Pappy, what if we hadn't found that place? Where would we have gone next?".
Pappy, by this time, had a headache. He didn't answer. He rubbed his temples, periodically, the rest of the way home.