Arts & Culture

The mystery of the lovesick Bushwick hearts

Photo by Ruthie Darling

On my walk home from the Morgan Ave. station I passed a wall that is usually covered in flyers. People looking for roommates, the ubiquitous Dan Smith offering his endless guitar lessons, posters promoting local comedy nights and all manner of other things. One particularly chilly night in February, I was hurrying along the street and glanced at the wall as usual.

As I passed, I spotted a pink paper heart stuck to the middle of the wall. It looked like a child had made it out of paper and adorned it with beads and a few foil hearts. It reminded me of a Valentine’s project I would have made in school for my mom. Written in Sharpie on the paper heart were the words: “Do you treat anyone else as badly as you treat me?” I stopped and looked at it. I checked beside it to see if it was an advertisement for something, but I couldn’t find anything that seemed remotely related to it. It was just a statement put out into the world by someone presumably suffering at the hands of a thoughtless lover.

I don’t know why, but I took a photo of the message on my phone and meandered home speculating upon the author of this note. It made my heart ache a little to think of someone who wanted to express this sentiment, but whose only means of communication was a poster on a wall covered in flyers for apartments long rented out. The cynic in me suspected that it might be the beginning of a long-game advertising campaign. Maybe these hearts would start appearing all over New York only to culminate in a final heart that read: “Heartbroken? Come for a drink at Bar X”. By the time I put my key in the apartment door, I had already started to forget about the note and its heart-heavy author and by the next day it had completely left my mind.

Fast forward to April. It was now much warmer and the walk to the subway seemed less of a chore. In the warmer months I like to take the slightly longer route down Bogart St., because the area offers me store windows to look in and street style to admire. I had just crossed Varet St. (about a block away from the poster wall), when on a lamppost, underneath a poster advertising the Bushwick Flea, there was another heart. I stopped and felt a wave of Jessica Fletcher type excitement at seeing another clue in the mystery I had forgotten I was solving. This pink heart looked fairly similar to the first, though the decorations were slightly different and the message written in red. “Just want you to know, the only thing your girlfriend has on me is about 5 inches, $100K and emotional stability.” I smiled and thought about posting it on Instagram with the comment #same.


Photo by Ruthie Darling

So what was I to make of this second message? The first seemed so poignant, but this second one was clearly self-aware and amusing. Who was this wordsmith so fond of children’s stationary? Who is the Zorro of craft supplies? What would Angela Lansbury do? What does any great detective do? My answer came to me on the L train. A great detective asks questions, so that’s what I must do too. I walked to the wall and posted my own love heart.


Photo by Ruthie Darling

Your move my heartbroken friend…..

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