a day in new york

I love New York City. It’s as plain and simple as that. I love that when I ride the subway I’m in the minority, scores of close bodies in every shape and shade from milky to mocha to deep cocoa brown rocking with the ebb and flow of the train like kelp in the sea. I love pounding the hot pavement in sandaled feet, steering between plump women pushing strollers in flowing frocks, chicks with tattooed limbs emerging from tees and cutoffs, men in khakis sweating through their shirts and younger ones in low-rider denim chatting into their cell phones. I love sitting on the sidewalk eating lunch in the shade of a low awning watching the masses stroll by speaking Spanish, Russian, Italian and a plethora of other languages that I don’t recognize much less understand.

Michael and I were there for less than twenty-four hours, but that we were there at all was a major feat, having been lucky enough to secure a nurse to stay overnight with Calvin, his school aide flanking the nurse’s shift on both ends. It felt weird getting on the plane with Michael yet without our son. We'd never done that before.

During our whirlwind trip we encountered things like a calamari and frisée salad with chorizo croutons, a sneaker-clad, frizzy-haired David Byrne passing us by on tenth Avenue, a couple of late afternoon beers and a glass of sparkling Prosecco, a gigantic black sculpture of a coat hanger, sepia-toned tin-types of surfers, a room with a view in diorama, a subway ride, taxi ride, a stroll on the High Line and a woman in cutoffs and unlaced combat boots confidently strutting down the street topless.

Michael’s Chelsea gallery debut was sublime. All that hard work by the most prolific artist I know paid off when he met a gallery owner at an artists’ residency who liked his work enough to give him a solo show. At the opening we drank white wine from plastic cups standing in front of window-mounted air conditioners that did little to cool the room. The show of support made my eyes sting as the sprinkling of onlookers snowballed into a sweating throng. Scores of Michael’s former students peppered the crowd. The first to show was a college rugby buddy closely followed by two of Michael's cousins and their children. Then, our good buddy Charlie appeared by total surprise having driven several hours just to say congratulations. Mostly, though, the space was filled with unfamiliar faces doing the gallery walk. Because of the noise, at one point I stepped into the back storage room behind a heavy curtain to call home and ask how Calvin was doing. At that moment I realized I’d been able to relax and stop worrying about my son, at least for a few hours.

And, the next morning, after an amazing late-night Italian dinner at Petrarca, a former student’s family restaurant, we watched the city fade and disappear out the back window of our cab and I thought about Calvin. I imagined how much fun it would have—could have—been to take Calvin hand in hand pounding the pavement around Manhattan, showing him fantastic art, eating hot dogs slathered in mustard from a street corner vendor, giving a paper bag of restaurant food to a homeless man, gazing up at immense and beautiful sky skyscrapers casting their shadows on us, all in a place I love so dearly. I long to share with him my fondness of the most wonderful melting pot in the world. But unless we can find a cure for his seizures freeing him from the delirious, debilitating effects of anticonvulsant drugs, a day like that in New York with Calvin can exist only in my wildest dreams.

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Give to cure epilepsy: http://www.calvinscure.com

At Schroeder Romero & Shredder gallery


  1. Your day sounded grand.....Congratulations to Michael...that is a real coup!

    Hang in there, friend.

  2. New York City would like to see Calvin some day, too!