Through the Wall
The new neighbors moved in sometime in August. The evidence was the music that started to come through the wall that separated our apartments. Some Parquet Courts, a little Phish, a substantial amount of Flaming Lips.
Despite the wall’s best efforts, I could tell they had the superior sound system.
We exchanged numbers during a chance encounter in the elevator. Gabriel and Brianna. A few weeks later, I texted to invite them over for a drink.
They walked across the hallway barefoot, bringing homemade pumpkin roll and cider.
I made whiskey sours. And for the first time, we all listened to music together, in the same room.
— Stephanie Roush
In 1961, I was 24, living on Minetta Lane in the Village and attending Columbia School of Social Work.
I had two friends who lived on West 10th Street, and they loved to throw parties. They would invite three men and each one had to bring three more men. I would supply the women.
One October evening, I traipsed across the Village carrying two ice cube trays. The party was in high gear when I arrived. I distributed my ice and then scoped out the room.
We caught each other’s eye and began a mild flirtation. I was touched when in response to my saying that I was studying social work, he told me he taught Sunday school. He was a transplant from a small city in western New York; I had been born and bred in New York City.
“Could I give you a ride home on my vehicle?” he asked. I was dubious, but I agreed.
On the street was a shiny motorcycle. As if I had done it a million times, I jumped on the back and we were off. Our first date was at MoMA. It was my treat since I was a student member. Our next was to a Broadway play.
We married the following February and will celebrate our 59th anniversary in 2021.
— Barbara Federgreen Anderson
I recently went for a run and ended up in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Just before turning to head home, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a large piece of wood leaning against a bunch of trash bags. It was garbage night, but until this point I hadn’t noticed the rubbish I was passing as I ran.
This was not just any piece of wood. It was my desk.
My father had built the desk for me in 2010 when I moved into what had been my second apartment, in Chelsea. I had used it for six years before selling it to a woman on Craigslist. I was moving to Brooklyn and it wouldn’t work for me in my new apartment.
Now, I thought, after four years, it must not work for her anymore either.
After 10 years in existence, the desk — its wooden top separated from it rusted-pipe legs, which were nearby encased in clear recycling bags — was finally at the end of its life.
I felt myself welling up. I FaceTimed my father and pointed my phone at the piece of wood.
“Do you know what this is?” I asked.
He did, immediately.
I said goodbye to the desk one last time, wiped away my tears and continued my run home.
— Jennifer Fragale
At Damrosch Park
It was a clear August night. Clutching stuffed shopping bags from Zabar’s, we made our way down the aisles at Damrosch Park searching for the perfect spot. It was about an hour before the Paul Taylor Dance Company was to perform at Lincoln Center Out of Doors.
The seats were not yet full, so we were somewhat surprised when an older woman with a beaming smile sat down next to me. She was wearing a brightly flowered dress and floppy hat adorned with red silk geraniums.
We smiled. She smiled. As we started to unpack our treats, we offered to share with her. She accepted graciously and we began to chat.
About 15 minutes before the program was to start, she said, “I can tell you are a couple who likes poetry, so please have this.”
She handed us a self-published volume that was autographed and featured a photo of her on the back. We thanked her.
She stood up quickly, nodded and disappeared into the crowd.
— Peggy Epstein
Flea Market Find
I bought a wedding ring from a jewelry vendor at the 25th Street flea market. He had really nice items and the ring caught my eye.
I asked the price, and he said $125. I tried but failed to negotiate a lower price. In truth, the ring was beautiful, and I would have paid more. We chatted and he wanted to know where I was from. Kansas City, I said.
As I was about to leave the flea market, he called me over and handed me $25.
He said it was for cab fare to the airport.
— William Harsh