Fading Mencken

The Smart Set: “Mencken’s sad, empty house, feels like a physical manifestation of the thing he’s become — a writer still around, and likely to always be around, but set off as a novelty, as a thing that stands awkwardly alone. The idea was reinforced when I left the house and walked across the street to Union Square. The small park was once the verdant center of a neighborhood of families, but it’s been long neglected. The water fountain was filled with cigarette butts. The grass was weedy. The trashcans were overflowing. In the center was a fountain honoring Mencken. Around its edge were bronze covers of his books, each bearing the name of a different donor. Some of the covers were missing, screw holes left behind. And the fountain was dry, trash blowing around its base.”