East Side, West Side . . .

In 1990, Amee and I moved to 85th St. and York Avenue in Manhattan.  We had been squirrelled up in the East Village until then, me for five years, she for ten.  It had been her apartment downtown in a building that housed Puerto Rican families, old poets and laundry ladies and homeless guys in the vestibule, eventually adding a Japanese sake bar (Candy B-1) on the street/cellar level.  The East Village in those days was in transition from Bill Graham’s spot to Donald Fisher’s.  Lou Reed could be heard echoing from Trash & Vaudeville and Television and Ramones on the decks at Sounds keeping St. Mark’s Place a juicy crawl.  BBQ had come in but there were not yet multiple Gap stores and Starbucks.  The night I arrived from Boston to first visit Amee there, she took me to her favorite bar, The Holiday, down the street.  She was smeared with paint, me in my best Wang Chung, we were mad in love but our lifestyles and wardrobes were pretty mismatched.

By the time we moved uptown I was wearing more Gap and Amee was smeared with film.  And all this time, Todd and Marian lived on the Upper West Side.  He had never lived anywhere else in NY that I know of.  Something about the access to all that takeout Chinese food, Central Park or Riverside for walking the dogs, great movie theatres and video stores, the 1,2,3 trains to midtown, it just suited them.   Ninety-sixth, eighty-ninth, Broadway, West End, they kept bopping around but always within a few block radius.  And they never came downtown.    I think in the 10 years we lived downtown, he visited me like three times.  It seemed impossible to get him to go South of 23rd St.   So when we finally moved uptown, we saw a lot more of each other.  On a Spring day we would call each other first thing and agree to meet halfway in Central Park.  A favorite spot would be Sheep’s Meadow where we could play frisbee, fly kites and just loll around in the grass.  On colder days we’d meet for a movie East or West or hang out at each other’s apartments.

Yorkville never felt like a long-term home, but it was a nice place to be young marrieds.   A year or two later we made it back downtown and found our dream spot on 13th St. and Fifth Ave in a building that had been painting studios for Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Thomas Hart Benton.   Amee began Grad School at NYU and the jingle house I worked at moved to 21st and Fifth.  That would be our last NYC address, stylish and convenient until we left for SF in ’94.

But I’ll always remember how nice it was meeting in the park and having my brother living right across the wide green lawn.


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