Friday, September 11, 2015

Tonight in Gramercy

My youngest son is visiting a high school friend at her dorm in New York City tonight. She goes to NYU and her dorm is in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, one of the places in the city I know best.

That's because before it was redone and became too pricey, the Gramercy Park Hotel was where I would stay, often with the kids who were traveling with me, for my visits to New York for The Nation's editorial board.

When he texted me his location this afternoon, I was flooded with memories -- the time I took a taxi from there with one of his older sisters to a play on Broadway. She was about 14 and was a little unsteady in the high heels she had bought for the occasion to go along with a fancy dress.

I remember I used to always write my oldest daughter a letter on the stationery the hotel provided when she was not there with me. I do not remember what I wrote about, exactly.

A professional memory is hiring a book editor for Salon who later became a big success at The New York Times Book Review.

It was just a very cool old place with a legendary bar and a singer/pianist playing the Blues at night. It still is, just at a higher tax bracket.

I could walk to and from The Nation, which at that time was close by downtown. Its old newsroom was the venue for a Woody Allen movie.

Nowadays the magazine is located at 33 Irving Place, even closer to Gramercy Park, about a three or four block walk. There's a country breakfast style restaurant very nearby and lots of ethnic restaurants for lunch or dinner.

It is a vibrant neighborhood, much more affluent than in the past, but there are still plenty of hot dog and pretzel trucks, newsstands, and vintage shoe shops nearby. Let's just say you are certain you are in New York when you are there.

Enjoy, Dylan!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Happy 21st!

Happy Birthday, Aidan, out there in Missoula. Julia is in Napa: Dylan about to head to the East Coast. We all wish you a very happy day. From the ages of 6 to 18, Aidan played sports in a way that thrilled me as his Dad. Little league baseball, middle school basketball, cross country, and -- of course -- soccer.

So many memories!


Sunday, September 06, 2015

The Quiet

Up early to go food shopping and it was a revelation. Between 8 and 9 a.m., there are few people out and about, so there is no waiting when it comes to checkout. I hate lines. The grocery clerk and I loaded my bags and I was back home by a bit after 9. Lots of frozen dinners this time. Why? Because Dylan leaves with his Mom for a ten day trip back east on Tuesday.

That's a long stretch for me to be alone, with no one to cook for. So at least I am prepared.

As I look around my apartment there are so many memories of so many people, most of whom never come around any longer. I guess this is what it is like to grow old. You lose almost everyone, one by one.

It is still shocking when someone dies but more often you just stop talking to them, so they are as good as dead to you. I live in a great big city with 800,000 others and I probably have known about 1,000 of them in one way or another.

But nobody calls, nobody knocks, nobody connects. It is just me and my memories except when my children come by. I expect Dylan tonight and part of tomorrow, a holiday. Maybe we will go out for lunch.

Then lots of silence for ten days. Until I drive up to Napa on the 17th to pick up Julia and two of her new friends for a long weekend here by the Bay.