I keep asking William Mullan if he’s sure he’s comfortable. “We don’t have to go through with this,” I say. “It’s not too late to reconsider!” But he assures me he’s ready as he unfurls a turquoise rope ladder and removes a long fruit-picking claw from his tote bag.
We’re on an elevated footpath that runs parallel to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, in South Williamsburg, on Yom Kippur, which meant the neighborhood’s streets were even busier than usual. Below us, cars pummel down the sunken highway, their whirring tires and nonstop honking amplified by the BQE’s canyonlike design.
Mullan is wearing pearl earrings, a crop top, jean cut-offs, and a pair of Timberlands. “The last time I was here, I stepped in shit, and it smelled so bad I just threw my shoes away,” he says, motioning to his feet. “I’m not messing around this time.”