On the 6

The Local

I love New York City

Like love

I would move my wife and children there in a minute if we had a gajillion dollars

I love everything about it

Including the large rat that ran across our path on our way to supper in the tony, quiet, and decidedly un-hip UES

But, mostly, I love it because of the people

The people we were scheduled to meet

Godfamily

They live in London

They used to live in New York

We don’t see them enough

We were going for Godmama’s birthday party on Friday night

And the other people I love

My high school pals who live there, too

I love them

Like love

A few weeks before the trip, I sent out another APB to the crew

A few emails, texts

Cocktail hour scheduled

I could only meet for any hour or so before the birthday party, said party being the whole reason we were there

Arranged

Done

Planned

Time and place appointed

So, I left my wife and children in SoHo on a Friday afternoon after the best lunch visiting with the Godfamily in NoHo

After we had gone further downtown in SoHo

To Glossier Flagship in Lower Manhattan

That’s a whole other crazy story

Anyway, I walked from Canal Street up through that benighted bastion of consumerism, over to Broadway, back through NoHo, past Grace Church and The Strand Bookstore, around Union Square, then up to Gramercy Park and then into The Freehand Hotel, prearranged meeting spot

I would love to have access to Gramercy Park, from the Krom Moerasje, little crooked swamp

My kingdom for a key

Because it’s beautiful

And private

I put my phone through the fence to grab that shot

Hope I don’t get a fine from the Gramercy Park Association

But, from basically Canal Street, t’was a hike

Glad the weather was perfect

My AirPods played playlists of music from high school

Lots of music from high school

Had to get my mind right for people who have known me for over thirty years

Earlier in the day, I had seen one of those meeting us at the hotel

Hadn’t changed a bit

As I walked through Union Square, I received a text from him

“Will be a minute or two late”

Another text from our organizer, “Running a little late, getting on the train in BK”

Another text from another friend, “Where are you?”

So, we all met up and visited and laughed and laughed and commiserated and laughed and told stories and laughed and laughed some more

I love these people

img_0477
Shoes weren’t all that were lit

 

They say they love me

I pay them handsomely

We pick up right where we left off every time

But we never really leave off

We never do

It’s great to be connected

Our myriad conversations shan’t be repeated here

Two members of the class behind ours joined us, too

We lived in the same dorm

Love them almost as much as my own classmates

They had to get to Brooklyn for Peter Hook’s concert

New Order indeed

As the clocked ticked and the sky darkened, I checked my watch

I had to be on East End Ave by 6:30

No way I was making that

In addition to the two heading to see Mr. Hook, there were others who had to go to the next event

What the City doesn’t sleep when I arrive?

One of us had to go on back to BK

One of us had to be at another party

One of us had to be in the same neighborhood as the Mayor whom they all despise

The rest were going out to supper

Finally, the time came

“Want to meet us later?”

“I don’t want you to leave”

“Can’t we keep you here?”

“Let’s go”

“Let’s go, then”

“And, yet they do not move”

“Isn’t that Waiting for Godot or something?”

“Ham, you’re gonna be late”

“I know, but it’s o.k.”

“Know where you’re going?”

“Sure, 23rd street to the 6 then up to 86th street, then walk on over to East End”

“You got it”

“Need a Metrocard?”

“I have one”

“You’re not a tourist”

“I am such a tourist”

“You hate SoHo; you’re not a tourist”

“You’re going to a party on East End Avenue; you’re not a tourist”

“Trust me; I’m a tourist”

So, we hugged

I hugged them all

Men and women

Equally loved

I walked downstairs and then out into the cooling New York evening and over to the station

As I swiped my Metrocard, I thought, “Damn, I love those people”

As I switched the Spotify station to a lengthy playlist of a certain nostalgic band, I began to cry

Really cry

Like crazy cry

Just full on blubbering

Right there beneath 23rd St

Runny nose crying

Glad I have a handkerchief crying

Crying through the rushing wind and squealing brakes as the 6 pulled into the station

I really stepped on the train heaving

As I held the metal pole held by countless riders, no one paid me one wit of attention

Oh, look, crazy dude crying on the 6

After

All

It

Is

New

York

About the time we rolled into the 51st station, a nice lady standing next to me put her hand on my arm

I took out my AirPods

She said in a lilting Islands accent, “You o.k., Sir?”

She had on medical scrubs

“No, Ma’am. I just left a group of people whom I adore and who adore me. I don’t get to see them enough. It hurts me to leave them.”

“Well, that’s a gift from Him,” she said as she pointed to the sky

More tears at that

Before she got off at the Hunter College Station, she stop and turned, patted me on the arm and said , “Well, good luck. Be glad you have friends.”

“Thank you,” I said. “You have no idea how glad I am”

By the time I got to 86th Street, at least I had stopped shaking

As I walked the five blocks toward the river, I started to smile and giggle at our conversations

They are all wicked smart

And funny

By the time I got to East End Avenue, I was fine

By the time I walked into the party, only my Guardian Angel on the train and I knew about my emotional outburst

She probably thought I was another tourist who had lost his mind in the City

The next day, I heard from another New Yorker classmate who now lives Upstate who said she would have come into the City had she known we were all gonna be together

Ooops

I told her about my crying on the train

Her reply, “Yep. We’ve all cried on the 6 before”

One thought on “On the 6

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