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On the streets where you live

A New York artist leaves winsome messages in sidewalk chalk, and local media dig up a democratic socialist candidate’s ‘repressive’ pro-life past

On the streets where you live

Hans Honschar (Instagram)

A New York moment: 

You see a lot of weird stuff on the sidewalks of Manhattan, from discarded pants to one-legged pigeons. One time I came across a steaming pile of potatoes, scattered on the sidewalk, a scenario that still leaves me baffled.

One nice thing New Yorkers come across on a regular basis, startling them out of their phones, are the chalk drawings and messages from street artist Hans Honschar. Honschar has been leaving messages around the city for years. “Shabbat Shalom,” one brightly lettered drawing on the Upper West Side might read on a Saturday. The rainy summer has washed his work away too quickly, but new messages always pop up. 

I’ve run into Honschar here and there and he’s extremely friendly to passersby as he works on his pieces, which are often commissioned (“Maya, fulfill your destiny”). Honschar sometimes writes out lines from the Psalms, and another recent message was “Let all that you do be done in love.” 

Honschar/Instagram

One of Honschar’s chalk drawings (Honschar/Instagram)

Near my house, I’ve seen his drawings outside of apartment buildings announcing the arrival of a baby or someone’s birthday. Recently I saw a message he drew outside of one building, “Amanda, call your mother.” At a local playground, he wrote, “Thank you for visiting the playground. Please continue obeying your parents.” 

Worth your time:  

This article on an intense Wiffle ball league had me laughing hard (warning: there’s one curse word). My family is full of intense Wiffle pitchers, but no one like Daniel Whitener, who claims he can “hit the zone consistently with nine or ten pitches” that include a “super curve” and a “change-up drop.” The piece is a good farewell to summer, and to the waning baseball season. 

This week I learned: 

A self-described democratic socialist candidate for the New York Senate used to head up a pro-life group at Columbia University. News outlets here reported this discovery as if the candidate had a secret history of sympathizing with Kim Jong Un. The candidate, Julia Salazar, has profusely apologized for this “repressive” part of her past. She currently supports the state’s efforts to legalize abortion after 24 weeks. 

A court case you might not know about: 

The impeachment trials for all four of West Virginia’s Supreme Court justices begin Sept. 11. This situation is wild

Culture I am consuming: 

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, a high-school romantic comedy from Netflix, has provoked a fever on the internet, and for good reason. The soundtrack is good too.

Email me with tips, story ideas, and feedback at ebelz@wng.org